After 32 years, $4.1M fire station renovation ahead

The $4.1 million renovation of a 32-year-old fire station located along Old Town Tacoma’s waterfront could begin as early as September, according to information prepared for a meeting this week at City Hall. City staff is scheduled to provide an update on the project to Tacoma City Council’s public safety and human services committee Thursday.

Last spring, city council awarded a $411,105 contract to Reid Middleton for design and permitting work on the project. The $4,088,000 renovation is being paid for by using $3 million in bonds issued by the city three years ago, and $1,088,000 from a federal port security grant awarded last year. The city is tentatively scheduled to advertise for competitive bids in July, award a construction contract in August, and begin construction in September.

During the meeting this week, staff is expected to ask the council committee to amend the city’s contract with Reid Middleton by spending an additional $57,374 to develop plans related to ground improvement, mitigation, and site monitoring. If the committee agrees to amend the contract, it will forward a “do-pass” recommendation to city council. A copy of the agenda and supporting materials for this week’s meeting are available online at .

The project’s most recent history dates back to Feb. 24, 2011, when Tacoma Fire Department representatives Jeff Jensen and Roger Edington, and Tacoma Public Works project manger Joshua Clarke briefed the same committee on the plan. The trio told the committee the fire station — which is known as “Station Five,” is located at 3301 Ruston Way, and sits on a pier overlooking Commencement Bay — is in need of seismic retrofitting, and the pier’s pilings suffer from “broken brace timbers, marine borer damage, split sections, and heavy fungal damage.” The damage is so severe, a fire boat typically moored at the station was relocated to station 18 on the Tacoma tide flats.

“It’s of pretty significant importance in terms of the Tacoma Fire Department providing marine services,” Edington told council committee members. By being located on the tide flats, the fire boat has to travel a significant distance in a five-mile-per-hour zone before it can increase its speed and respond to emergencies on Commencement Bay and near Point Defiance Park and Tacoma Narrows Bridge, added Edington. Renovating the fire station would also help in maintaining the accreditation the fire department was awarded in 2009 by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.

During that meeting, committee members learned the work would be completed in three phases. The first phase would include structural and seismic improvements and an interior remodel of the station for joint use by Port of Tacoma, Tacoma Police, the Coast Guard, and Tacoma Fire. The second phase would include new moorage for response vessels, breakwater to protect vessel moorage, and an electronics infrastructure to serve Port of Tacoma security personnel. The third phase would include a new upland apparatus bay and site improvements for an emergency service vehicle.

“I’m looking forward to it being open,” said Tacoma City Councilmember Marty Campbell during the meeting last year. Campbell serves as the committee’s vice chair. “It’s clearly one of our most visible fire stations in the city.”

Following the meeting, the committee approved a recommendation for the full city council to award the contract to Reid Middleton for design and permitting work on the fire station. On March 31, 2011, Tacoma City Council approved a purchase resolution awarding the contract to Reid Middleton.

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Year In Review: $4.1M Fire Station Renovation (12/29/11) —

FEMA awards $1.2M toward Tacoma fire station renovation (09/01/11) —

Tacoma City Council OKs contract for fire station renovation (03/31/11) —

Tacoma moves forward on $4.1M waterfront fire station renovation (03/01/11) —