MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) The city of Midland plans to demolish Fire Station Number 5 and build a new one in its place.
The estimated cost of the demolition and building is expected to be $4.1 million, based on current plans. Station 5 Fire Chief, Charles Blumenauer, said $4.5 million has been budgeted for the project.
The Midland firefighters at the station face danger every day. But it’s the things inside Station 5 that call for a change.
Chief Blumenauer stood in the outdated station kitchen and explained how the team uncovered asbestos under the flooring.
“That’s when we found out it had asbestos and we had to do some quick abatement,” he said.
The chief explained some of the problems the station is currently experiencing.
“First thing I would say is this station is 61 years old. Any commercial building that’s life of use, this used the most. The issues around here, the foundation is old, we’re starting to see some termite damage, plenty of roof damage and stuff, plumbing. As a 61-year-old building, plumbing is hard to get under the concrete at a fire station because it’s thicker so it’s tough to get some out of the items fixed like they should be. So all those items have led us to this point where it’s met its life expectancy,” he said.
Chief Blumenauer said by November or December of 2019, the asbestos abatement should be done and the building should be demolished. In March of 2020, bids should be awarded to contractors. By April or May of next year, the building should be complete.
Martinez Architects, the firm hired for the project, released renderings and more information at a town hall meeting at the station Wednesday night.
The firm said it will be a two story fire station. The station will have three emergency vehicle bays, a decontamination room, an exercise room, a gear room, a slide, an equipment room, office space, an electrical room and storage.
The second story will house seven dorm living quarters, a kitchen, a dining room, a patio, work stations, a utility room and living room.
The chief said the new building will increase efficiency, allow room for growth and better serve the community.
“Currently, we have a fire truck and a rescue truck here. At that point in time, it should allow us to add an ambulance at some point in time. Whether it’s me, the next chief, or the chief after that, I wanted to make sure what we did at this station could allow us to expand and grow with the city as well,” he said.
Community members in the town hall meeting raised questions about the timeframe for completion, expansion potential, and cost, among other things.
Other community members said they are happy to see their neighborhood firefighters with an updated and safe fire station.
“Well I was really impressed with the facility they have planned. And most importantly, projected for possible growth that we’re likely to see over the next several years,” Rocky Valdes said.
Another community member, Iris Foster, said she knows the demolition and building will impact neighboring road conditions, but urges others to stay patient.
“Well I’m glad to see that they’re going to get the asbestos out, they’re going to make it a much for livable facility for our firefighters and our EMS [emergency medical services]. And I also think that it will entice new employees to the county and to the firefighting department,” she said.
Chief Blumenauer said employees at Fire Station 5 will be moved to another nearby station when the project is implemented.