El Paso city council recently considered an agenda item to approve $553,787.00 to hire an architectural firm for the new fire station #38 project.
If they have been assigning numbers to our fire stations in sequential order then we probably have built 37 others. Fire station #5 (if there still is a #5) is probably old and the design is not appropriate for what is needed now. But how about the last station that we built?
Do we really need a new design?
Granted I’m neither an architect nor a fireman. However I suppose that a fire station is largely a garage with dormitory facilities for its crew (kitchen, showers, beds, maybe some office space) and warehouse space for equipment.
This new station is planned to be about 10,000 square feet.
The anticipated cost is $11.8 million dollars. That comes to about $1,180 per square foot.
R. S. Means is a national company that provides costing information for construction projects. Back in 2013 they reported the national average for construction of a 6,000 square foot fire station to be $140.18 per square foot.
A 2017 posting on the firehouse.com website included this:
Brown Reynolds Watford Architects recommends any department with tight and limited budgets must prioritize their needs. Many stations today are being built between $275 and $400 a square foot.
BRW is the firm that the city is hiring.
There could be a valid reason for this. The city should explain why the fire station will cost so much.
We deserve better