Fargo to remodel downtown fire hall
FARGO - A $3 million remodel of the Fire Department's downtown station was given the go-ahead by the City Commission on Tuesday night.
FARGO – A $3 million remodel of the Fire Department's downtown station was given the go-ahead by the City Commission on Tuesday night.
Station 1 at 637 NP Ave., which serves as the department's headquarters, was built in 1961 and has shown its age, according to a memo from Fire Chief Steve Dirksen.
The plumbing has problems and the office space is too cramped, he told commissioners Tuesday. There used to be just four department employees manning the headquarters office, but now there are 10, he said.
Originally, the department considered just "a small office remodel with window and door replacement," the memo said, but further analysis showed that a much larger renovation would be needed to meet current and future needs over the next 25 to 30 years.
Architects at Image Group of Moorhead estimated the project would cost $2.6 million, but the commission agreed to set aside as much as $3 million. The costliest work includes $540,200 to renovate the mechanical system, $427,200 to renovate the electrical system and $376,600 to replace the windows.
A feature of the design that some commissioners frowned on was a glass-walled garage protruding out of the west side that serves as a display space for a restored 1924 firetruck and other memorabilia from the departments' 140-year history. The memo said it's a favorite of schoolchildren who regularly tour Station 1. Dirksen added Tuesday that he likes having the display there to inspire prospective employees.
He said the display costs about $250,000.
Commissioners Dave Piepkorn and Tony Gehrig said they were not fans of the display, with the former saying he preferred it not take up valuable downtown real estate. Commissioner Mike Williams said the land is too small and isolated to be useful to the private sector.
Dirksen said the renovation will take 12 to 14 months and he's still looking for a temporary space for firefighters.