Upgrades are on tap for the Cortez Fire Protection District's Station 1 that should allow the city's fire officials to
remain in the facility for up to two more decades.
Cortez Fire Chief Don Eberle said the fire district board last week approved a motion to remodel the station by
adding three upstairs bedrooms, two energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning systems and some new dining
furniture to provide for better firefighter accommodations in a 24-hour operation.
The chief said the overall remodeling should cost no more than $100,000.
From a morale and comfort standpoint, this is tremendous for us," Eberle said about the new construction. It helps
us to not have to build a new facility any time soon."
A new fire station for the department likely would cost about $3 million, Eberle said. Station 1 last received a
facelift in 1979, which included adding a second floor.
Other improvements for the new upgrades will include installing an energy-efficient electrical system that can
benefit current and future expansion, purchasing a standby" electric generator and adding a new lift, or elevator, for handicapped people who attend meetings in the upper level.
Larger-scale construction for the Station 1 upgrades could start as early as this week. A preconstruction meeting is
slated for Wednesday, the chief said. Improvements should be completed by the end of March. The fire district is
acting as the general contractor for the work.
Installation of the department's new heating and air-conditioning units took place over the weekend, Eberle said.
An existing meeting room at the fire station will double as a training area, the chief said. The current upstairs
training room will be redone as a day room" or living room, and a new office will be built for the department's
on-duty fire officer. A dining room will be added to the kitchen area.
Upgrades are expected to allow the fire department to net another 15 to 20 years from the facility, Eberle said.
This is a good way to accommodate housing for our paid people and give them decent living conditions," he said.
The Cortez Fire Department has 33 firefighters, 30 of whom are paid or reserve" firefighters. Three firefighters
maintain a volunteer status at the city department, Eberle said.
Some paid firefighters also serve as volunteers for the Cortez department when they're not on the clock, Eberle said.
Other paid officers volunteer time with various other Montezuma County fire districts.