The Public Safety Committee of the Jefferson City Council on Thursday authorized Architects Alliance of Jefferson City and Williams Spurgeon Kuhl & Freshnock (WSKF) Architects of North Kansas City to continue planning for a new Fire Station No. 2, including appraising potential new sites.
Fire Chief Matthew Schofield and Cary J. Gampher of Architects Alliance outlined steps taken since Aug. 25 in preparation for a formal proposal to be submitted to the full City Council on how to replace the 47-year-old station at 2400 E. McCarty St.
At this stage in the analysis, the chief said, it was impossible to say where the new station might be built, how big it would be or what it would cost. Schofield said it would pose serious challenges to build a new station or renovate the existing station while continuing to operate "24/7 at maximum efficiency from that location."
The City Council does have $912,000 in partial funding banked for a new Station No. 2, the chief said. That's the amount of Sales Tax G proceeds earmarked for such a project. The Council, he said, "has known all along that a new station would require significant additional funds."
Gampher advised the committee, "The architectural team is at a pivotal juncture regarding the path to move forward with detailed plans to improve work conditions and enhance capabilities in this essential community facility. Two options with varying degrees of success exist: major renovation or new construction."
In his formal request, Gampher said, "At this time, the Architect Alliance Team respectfully requests authorization to pursue potential new sites acceptable for (city) review and approval. With more definitive site information, the floor plan options can be tailored accordingly."
The committee, chaired by Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham, voted unanimously to endorse the request from Gampher. Once the Architects Alliance plan is submitted to the committee and approved, it would be then sent to the Council for cost approval, Graham said.
Gampher said the Architects Alliance Team — comprised of representatives of JCFD, the Jefferson City Public Works Department, WSKF Architects and Architects Alliance — had visited fire facilities in Lee's Summit, Overland Park and Lenexa.
WSKF has recently designed award-winning fire stations for St. Joseph, Lee's Summit, Weston and Oak Grove and is now creating plans for new stations in St. Joseph and Chillicothe. Schofield said WSKF had designed $90 million of public safety facilities.
Schofield told the News Tribune he wanted the community to know, in addition to his department's senior leadership and the leadership of some fire partners in the area, firefighters working at Station No. 2 were participating in the planning.
Deciding on a new fire station in that area of Jefferson City packs a 50- to 100-year responsibility to the community, said Schofield, who logged 10 years of his career as a firefighter at Station No. 2. "It's important that we get it right, and I wanted to have the participation of some our current firefighters from the get-go."