Port firefighters will request $13,500 in budget for architects to analyze space needs for second station
The Port Washington Fire Department will seek $13,500 in next year’s city budget to conduct a feasibility study and space needs analysis for a second firehouse.
The Police and Fire Commission, which tabled the matter last month after receiving bids for the study from both Bray Architects and 5 Bugles Design, said it wants to keep the process moving ahead, even though there is no money for the study in this year’s budget.
Members recommended approving a $13,500 bid from Bray Architects, which has offices in Sheboygan and Milwaukee.
The city also received a $18,300 bid for the study from 5 Bugles Design of Eau Claire.
In addition to the fact Bray submitted the lower bid, commission members noted that the firm had approached the city seeking the work. Bray also offered to begin the study now and not bill the city until next year, Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said.
Bray was also highly recommended by the Port-Saukville School District, he said. The firm is conducting a facilities study for the school district.
The firm is also experienced in municipal building projects, officials said.
“We don’t want someone designing this who has never built a fire station before,” Commission Chairman Rick Nelson said. “I don’t want to be the test case.”
Commission members said they also like the fact the firm is located close to the city, noting it would be easier to meet with the company if needed.
By recommending Bray’s bid, the commission in effect authorized Mitchell to include the study in the fire department’s 2015 budget.
Some members questioned how likely it is the city will allocate the funds in the budget.
“I know the mayor is supportive,” Nelson said. “And the townspeople, I haven’t heard anyone question it. What I’ve mostly heard is ‘I can’t believe you haven’t done this already.’”
Officials have discussed the concept of building a joint fire station with Ozaukee County that would not only meet the city’s needs but also those identified by the county, Nelson said.
Potential locations for the new station could include several parcels owned by the county, Nelson said, chief among them land adjacent to the Ozaukee County Justice Center and the neighboring soccer fields.
The former auto dealership across the street from the Justice Center, although privately owned, is another possibility, he said.
However, Nelson said, it will be up to Bray to evaluate the sites.
“We’ll leave it up to them to come up with recommendations,” he said.
Although the city has talked about building a second fire station for years, the idea has gained traction recently.
Fire officials point to cramped conditions at the firehouse, inefficiencies and the fact the building has no facilities for women or paramedics.
Pointing to the fact that Ozaukee County also has space needs, particularly in the emergency government and sheriff’s departments, commission members have proposed building a joint facility.