Volunteer firefighters with the Palisade Rural Fire Protection District have lots to celebrate in 2013. With a new fire station finally complete, they now have a home to store all their equipment, plus additional room for training, staff offices and bunks. And it's all in one location - at 341 W. Seventh St.
"It's a place for everything to be inside," Palisade's Fire Chief Rich Rupp said. "All of us will be working out of the same building. All of us will be together, and now that we've got a lot more room, we can do better training."
According to Palisade Town Administrator Richard Sales, building a new fire station has been at the top of the town's must-do list for the last 12 years. Up until now, the almost 30 volunteer firefighters protecting the Palisade area were scattered throughout the area in old facilities and a portion of the district's equipment was stored outside.
"The new station is the second phase of converting the old Palisade High School complex into a new Civic Center," a Town of Palisade news release said. "The first phase was the restoration of the old high school gymnasium that was completed in 2010."
Both Sales and Rupp confirmed that keeping all firefighting equipment inside and at one location will reduce wear-and-tear on district equipment, and centralizing crew quarters along with creating five truck bays should reduce response times.
Having a central location on a major thoroughfare will hopefully improve critical response times, too, Sales said.
"Pretty much anywhere we need to go, we can get there a little quicker," he said.
"We originally thought that we'd build a new station by the old Palisade high school," Sales said. "But, when the economy tanked, we couldn't afford a $4 million project without borrowing."
So, Palisade's government developed a creative collaboration with the local fire district. Instead of building a new structure, they decided an adaptive reuse of the old Palisade Library building would be a better deal. And it saved the town almost $2 million from the project's original budget.
Sales said he couldn't be happier town staff managed to build "a fairly major public facility for a town of this size without an increase in debt or tax increase."
Plus, the "adaptive reuse is environmentally sensitive," Sales added. "By reuse of the building, we reduced the footprint of the energy standard quite significantly."