After being told to bring down costs, Longboat Key Fire Rescue will ask the Town Commission for renovations to both fire stations on the island.
Nine months ago, Longboat Key Town commissioners had sticker shock after perusing $2.3 million worth of plans to renovate one of two island fire stations.
Now, Longboat Key Fire Rescue Chief Paul Dezzi is coming back with facelift plans for both for about $300,000 less than that original figure.
“It will be cheaper,” he said. “It’s a tight plan, but this plan will work for us.”
Dezzi’s new plan for renovations is estimated to cost a total of $1.95 million to $2 million.
Dezzi said the plans for the north station, which he estimates to cost from $450,000 to $500,000, include hardening it to withstand a Category 4 hurricane, building separate male and female sleeping quarters and locker rooms, updating exhaust and venting in the vehicle bays and adding new overhead doors.
The proposal is less extensive than the renovation planned for the south station, which Town Manager Dave Bullock vetted with commissioners in February.
“They told us to scale it down and re-do it,” Dezzi said.
The new cost estimate for that renovation is $1.5 million.
Dezzi will now ask the Longboat Key Town Commission to look at the new design plans at its Jan. 23 workshop and move it on for approval at a regular meeting.
“We’ll have a full range of reasonable options,” Bullock said.
At the south station, Dezzi is pitching all the same plans in the new north station proposal, but also adding a quarantine room, adding a bedroom for trainees and moving the fitness room outside so all town employees can use it.
It will also be hardened to withstand a Category 4 hurricane.
“That’s something you try to do in any renovation,” Bullock said. “We probably can’t get a Cat 5 building out of either of those buildings, but maybe we can bump it up.”
Just as critical is installing gender-specific dressing quarters. Both stations would have separate sleeping and dressing quarters under the new floor plans.
Longboat Key employs four female firefighters.
“When they built these buildings, they didn’t think of gender,” Dezzi said. “Women should not be dressing in the same room as the men. It’s not right.”
When the commission reviewed plans to renovate or rebuild the south fire station in February, Bullock agreed to bring back a phased renovation plan to update the station rather than demolish and rebuild it. Built in 1984, the south fire station is the oldest municipal building.
Dezzi said he hasn’t discussed any phased plan with Bullock, but he is ready for his next move if the commission rejects these plans, too.
“We’ll have to go back to the drawing board,” he said. “My hope is the commission does something. We have to do something.”
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