Longboat Key is preparing to renovate one fire station and replace another.
During their final meeting before the traditional summer recess, the Town Commission listened as town staff and consultants provided an update on the dual projects.
The town’s south fire station will be knocked down and then rebuilt. Its north fire station will undergo interior work – the only exterior work will be on the entrance.
“We’re working with the design team, the architects, to complete the floor plan or the schematic drawing for the south fire station,” Longboat Fire Chief Paul Dezzi said. “We already have one for the north fire station, but we’re trying to get a schematic drawing so that once it’s completed it will be able to go out for bid for the builder.”
Designing is in its preliminary stages and will continue for both projects through August. The stations are 4.5 miles from each other. Dezzi said the feeling is that if both projects can be provided at the same time for bid, the town will receive a better offer.
Charles Mopps, a town projects manager for Longboat Key, said this bid is specifically for materials like stoves, air conditioners, washers and dryers, drywall, concrete and other such materials.
Todd Sweet of Sweet Sparkman Architects delivered a presentation to the commission that included renderings and floor plans. The schedule/history for the projects goes as follows:
- June 5 2017: presentation discussing options for fire station
- March 20, 2018: commission approves funding for replacement/renovation projects
- March 26 2019: architect chosen
- April 30, 2019: construction manager chosen (Jon F. Swift construction)
- Feb. 1 2020: construction start date proposal
- January 31, 2021: construction completion
Sweet said the goals are to complete the design this year and start construction early next year.
Last year, Longboat residents voted in favor of the town spending at most $5.895 million for the refurbishing and rebuilding projects.
After Sweet's presentation, commissioners weighed in.
Vice Mayor Ed Zunz asked if town staff/consultants considered a two-floor fire station instead of one. Mopps said two floors wouldn’t work because the referendum for funding the projects was based off of a one-story design.
During the razing and rebuilding of the south fire station, there will be a temporary facility next to it. Dezzi said the fire department will have a trailer on-site with a storage room. The fire department is working with the Longboat Key Club because a part of the trailer will be on the club’s property.
According to Dezzi, the main reason for this arrangement is that the department couldn’t find another location that would allow the response time necessary for the south end of Longboat.
The fire trucks for the south firehouse will be left outside during the time of construction. Over at the north firehouse, after talking to the builder, Dezzi said they’re going to be able to work around the renovations and keep the firefighters in the fire station.
“I’ve met with each firefighter individually over the last two weeks and I went over what we’re planning on doing, tried to answer any questions they had, and they’ve all been very understanding, knowing we’re going to be displaced but only for a short period of time,” Dezzi said. “We’ll be able to make do, so all the guys are on board.”
The south station, built more than 30 years ago, is not up to code in both energy efficiency and firehouse storage, and it has mold issues.
Dezzi said the stations will be able to withstand 160 mph winds, which correspond with category 5 hurricanes. The fire department is the last to leave the island during a hurricane.