Dirt is moving at the southwest corner of Madison and Woodlawn. By year’s end, the city’s newest fire station should be finished and ready for decades of service.
“This is a big deal for us,” Mayor Randy White said. “This is something for us to be proud of.”
The long-planned project will be home for Fire Station 81, which currently is at 128 W. Market. That property will be retained by the city but used for other functions.
Derby has one other fire station, which is at 1401 N. Rock Road.
The city will retain that building for storage and other uses as leaders see fit, but the engines and crews will move to the new station, closer to the city’s growth, providing a more centralized site and improving response times.
The 20,842-square-foot structure building was designed by GLMV Architecture and the general contractor for the project is Snodgrass and Sons, which won the work with a bid of $5.28 million. The company said it would get the work done in a time frame of 330 days.
The money has been approved in the Capital Improvement Plan, which allotted $7.7 million for it. Of that sum, $767,460 is cash and the remaining $7 million is being financed in 2018.
The site, formerly the home of the Sixth Grade Center, is envisioned to be more than a routine fire station, but rather incorporate park-like elements along with a landmark statue now being created by Derby artist John Parsons. That bronze sculpture is being financed by a combination of private donations and public funds.
The corner will be extensively landscaped. There are four shade trees and eight ornamental trees to be added to five existing oaks along Bulldog Drive, along with 160 shrubs that will be added.
An informational sign will be at the corner of the property.
There will be a variety of walking paths through the parcel. In some ways, it will be another park for the city, although not a full-scale one. The point is to make it a place of civic pride.
Of course, it has a serious function, too, and in that regard, the fire station – which will sport giant 81 numerals – is made to latest professional standards.
Officials say one of the main reasons for selecting GLMV Architecture is its experience in such facilities.
As for traffic flow, firetrucks will enter the station from Madison using Bulldog Drive and exit on Woodlawn.
With the new station, City Manager Kathy Sexton said there are a number of considerations:
• The proposed design provides not only for the primary station but also room for growth.
• The design focused on durable materials that would result in efficient building maintenance and upkeep along with energy efficiency.
• The group selected brick, landscaping, rock and other elements to ensure consistency with design elements at Madison Avenue Central Park and the surrounding neighborhood.
Other details include two onsite parking lots, one north of the building and one south.
There are 41 parking spaces planned, which city staff say is sufficient to meet needs.
The existing sidewalk along Woodlawn was removed and will be replaced. There is an existing sidewalk along the east side of Bulldog Drive.
All lighting will be screened or shielded to prevent intrusion of light or glare onto adjoining streets and properties.
Along with Sexton, the fire station design committee included the city’s Director of Operations, Ted Austin; council members Rocky Cornejo and John McIntosh; Fire Chief Brad Smith; Deputy Chief Bill Pater; and selected lieutenants and firefighters.