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Cottage Grove City Council approves new fire station plans

The new central fire station will be located on 80th Street, next to Fire Station 2. (Submitted photo) 1 / 3
Schematic designs of the central fire station first floor show two 6,350-square-foot apparatus bays with offices and training facilities to the side. (Submitted photo) 2 / 3
The second floor features a training tower and residential areas. (Submitted photo) 3 / 3

Cottage Grove’s new central fire station is estimated to cost just under $9 million.

Designs reveal a two-story fire station on 80th Street that will cost an estimated $8,925,000.

An earlier capital improvement projects budget included a $6 million earmark for the fire station. The initial estimate was based on a smaller building than what is now designed, causing the $3 million increase.

“The $6 million estimate came from a space needs study,” Finance Director Robin Roland said.

“That number has been floating around in our CIP documents for the last three to four years.

The reason it changed was when we revised the space needs study in 2015, they identified a different size of building.”

The City Council voted 5-0 to approve the schematic design at an Aug. 24 special meeting.

The increased cost would be covered by deferring other capital projects, such as some pavement improvements, to 2018, and refinancing capital project debt.

“We anticipate wrapping a combination of internal debt for city hall and the station into a bond and take the existing debt,” Roland said. “The intent is not to have any impact on taxes.”

“We should be able to pay back this building and that building combined,” Mayor Myron Bailey added.

Bailey said the city has been receiving good interest rates the past few years, and is confident this refinancing rate will be no different. The rate is currently below 2 percent.

“These are effectively the lowest rates of all time,” Roland said.

Bailey also said the cost of the fire station seemed to be on track with what other similar facilities have cost.

“When the design came through, the real number was looking to be about $9 million,” Bailey said. “After going through all the tours of other fire stations, and seeing what cost per square foot is, sometimes we’re a little below and most of the time pretty spot on with the cost.”

The cost is broken down into $7.3 million for construction and $1.5 million for architectural and project costs.

The designs show a 32,750-square-foot building with two 6,350-square-foot apparatus bays and 12,474 square feet of office and living space.

An apparatus support area fills 2,850 square feet, and includes a gear room and cleaning facilities, storage and a training tower.

The training tower will allow smoke and water to run through it without disturbing any other parts of the building, while training personnel using real elements.

The fire station’s first floor will include the apparatus bays, apparatus support areas, administrative offices, entry, a training center and a fitness room — filled with the fitness equipment donated by Snap Fitness of Lino Lakes.

The second floor will include the training tower and mezzanine, eight dorm rooms, four bathrooms, changing rooms, laundry, kitchen, dining area and locker room.

Public Safety Director Craig Woolery said this facility is set to meet public safety's needs for the next 15 to 20 years.

Goals cited by the architects and the city for the new building include being fiscally responsible, providing energy efficient measures and bringing in new technology to help increase efficiency.

Fire Chief Rick Redenius said that the equipment can last up to 40 years, and the “building will last as long as you maintain it.”

The facility will be built next to Fire Station 2 east of Innsdale Avenue, though $125,000 of the projected cost is slated for demolishing and restoring the site of that station.

Construction for the new central fire station is set to begin in March 2017 and be completed in February 2018.

The schematic designs were completed by Wold Architects and Engineers of St. Paul, who designed City Hall. The construction contract was signed with Kraus-Anderson, who constructed the Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

The council will receive an update on the architectural design and style at its Oct. 5 meeting.

The project may be discussed at the fire department open house at Fire Station 2 on Oct. 15.