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New Fire Station 1 now operational
It was out with the old and in with the new Wednesday for the city of Yuma's Fire Station No. 1, which is now operational in its brand new home after firefighters moved in earlier that day.
Firefighters commemorated the occasion by cooking a spaghetti dinner. They did have a couple of emergency responses before they could finish, but that made it all that much more normal for them.
The new fire station at 353 S. 3rd Ave. off Giss Parkway replaces the aged station at 298 W. 4th St., which was built in the mid-1950s and was badly in need of replacement.
Construction of the new station cost about $3.5 million. At approximately 16,000 square feet, the new state-of-the-art building has about twice the space of the old station to serve the downtown area.
The move into the new station came nearly a year to the day after ground was broken on March 12, 2012.
And it became operational the same day the city dedicated its new police substation at 6390 E. 26th St. to serve residents in the east side of the city.
“That was a good coincidence,” said City Administrator Greg Wilkinson, providing a welcome improvement to the city's public safety infrastructure.
“We really needed the substation,” he said. “And we really needed to replace the fire station.”
Both projects were funded out of the city's 2 percent public safety tax, first approved by city voters in 1994 and renewed in 2011. The tax helps support police and fire protection and has funded several projects over the years.
Completion of the new Fire Station 1 “is a good step forward,” Wilkinson said. “Drew Pilkington was able to build a great building for us. It will give firefighters a great facility for years to come.”
Wilkinson said several engineering studies of the structure all came back with the recommendation it would be cheaper to replace the decades-old station than bring it up to standard with expensive repairs.
“It was an exciting project,” said Wes Splawn, project manager for LPC Construction of Yuma, the general contractor. “It's a beautiful building and it was good to get (the firefighters) into it. We're very proud to put LPC behind such an awesome facility.”
While the new station is now operational with emergency vehicles responding from it, the project is not completed yet, said Mike Erfert, public information officer for Yuma Fire Department.
Remaining work includes demolishing the old building, which is now closed, parking lot construction, landscaping and other site work.
Splawn said LPC will begin tearing down the old building next week, and expects it will take about another 45 days to finish the remaining work.
Erfert said an official ceremony and open house will be scheduled later.