Durango Planning Commission unanimously approved plans Monday for a new fire station to replace an existing station on east 32nd Street.
Durango Fire Protection District’s 1,000-square-foot Fire Station No. 3 will be replaced with a 10,600-square-foot building, according to plans presented to the commission.
Residential and commercial growth in the area has increased demand for fire and emergency services in the area, Fire Chief Hal Doughty said. Additionally, the current building is 20 years old.
“We don’t anticipate the growth in that area slowing down,” Doughty said.
The construction is expected to cost between $3 million and $3.2 million, he said. The district has budgeted $3.5 million for the project, he said.
The project will be paid for, in part, through a property tax increase that voters approved last November.
Voters across the 325-square-mile district approved a property tax increase that boosted the district’s budget by about $3 million annually. The increase brought the district’s 2018 budget up to $13.8 million.
The property tax increase was intended to hire staff, buy vehicles and invest in infrastructure.
The fire district plans to rebuild Station 3 because it is too small and some crew members must sleep in a trailer on the property.
As part of construction, the district plans to add seven bunks that will house five full-time staff members, Doughty said.
The district also plans three additional bays, which will allow the building to house five vehicles, including two fire engines, two ambulances and one seasonal vehicle that could be used to fight wildfires, Doughty said.
Construction is intended to start Oct. 21, and the project will be built in two phases, said Elizabeth Boone with Reynolds Ash and Associates.
In the first phase, a two-story building will be built on the southwest corner of the property. The building will house three bays on the first floor. The second floor will have seven small bunk rooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room and deck, according to plans submitted to the city.
In the second phase, the existing building will be removed and replaced with a structure that will house two vehicle bays, a fitness area and a training and meeting room. The first and second phase will be connected by an entryway, Boone said.
The site will have space for 21 cars and a bike parking space, she said.
Construction could be complete in June, Doughty said.
A new 534-square-foot meeting room will be available for public use to help community members feel more comfortable visiting the station, Doughty said.
As part of the approval, the planning commission required the fire district to add a bear-proof dumpster and allowed it to have a larger driveway to accommodate large vehicles on site.
The project does not need to be reviewed by the Durango City Council, said Project Manager Scott Shine.