A smokin’ hot new fire station
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Firefighters who serve Silt and New Castle and the surrounding areas are expecting to move into their brand new, 15,000-square-foot fire house by the end of February, according to Chief Brit McLin of the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District.
After a bit of bureaucratic delay from the town of New Castle, McLin said, the department got its certificate of occupancy on Tuesday for the firehouse at 775 Castle Valley Blvd. He and his crews are now working on last-minute projects to get the facility ready.
“A few more tune-ups, and here we go,” the chief said in a telephone interview, noting that a grand opening date will be announced soon.
The new fire station, which came in under its budget of $4.4 million, took a year to build and a couple of years before that for research, design, planning and bidding, McLin said.
He is proud of numerous aspects of the new station, including its solar energy system, which cost about $115,000 up front. McLin said the fire district received a rebate from Xcel Energy of about $53,000.
He said the system was designed to produce half the building’s electric needs, although he said exact numbers won’t be available until the building has been in use for a year or more. Savings on electric bills should pay for the system in around 20 years.
Another high-tech feature, he said, is a geo-exchange heating and cooling system, which he said cost roughly $100,000 more than a traditional heating system. It is designed to pay for itself in savings within nine years.
The system involves the use of 400-foot-long tubes sunk into the ground and filled with a glycol fluid that takes on the constant 55-degree temperature of the ground and then circulates through the heating and coolant system.
“So you’re always doing your heating and cooling starting from a fixed temperature,” McLin explained.
A further point of pride about the project, for McLin, is his estimate, “We used virtually 100 percent regional labor, and the vast majority of it was local.”
He said the district forged an agreement with the general contractor to seek bids from local contractors as well as from subcontractors outside the area. The idea, he said, was to encourage the use of local firms as much as possible.
For example, he said, a local firm did the heating and air conditioning work on the building, even though their bid came in a little higher than an out-of-town company’s bid.
He said the building’s longevity, while unknown in any exact sense, likely will be enhanced by some of the features, such as a ground-concrete floor, which is longer lasting than poured concrete, and granite countertops in the facility’s kitchen.
The granite, he hastened to add, was donated, and is seen as a benefit mostly for the firefighters who will be living in the facility.
“We aimed for a 50-year building, and probably built a 70-year building,” he predicted optimistically.
McLin also predicted that the location of the new fire station above the City Market store will cut response times to the Lakota and Castle Valley subdivisions, and save time in getting to Interstate 70 for more remote fire calls, compared to having to run up the entire length of Main Street from the old firehouse.
As for the future of that old firehouse, McLin mused, “As yet to be determined; possibly a satellite to service downtown, possibly maintenance?”
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