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Fire station going up

Rachel Gallegos • Iowa City Press-Citizen • June 10, 2010

It’s been months since the groundbreaking for Iowa City Fire Station No. 4 located near the intersection of North Dodge Street and Scott Boulevard.

But it’s been years — even decades — of waiting for those who were part of the discussion as far back as the 1980s, Iowa City Fire Chief Andy Rocca said.

Ground work started recently for the fourth Iowa City fire station, a 13,300-square-foot satellite station that will be similar to the rebuilt Fire Station No. 2, city officials said.

The Iowa City Council awarded the project March 23 to Corporate Contractors Inc. of Beloit, Wis., for close to $2.47 million, Iowa City’s architectural services coordinator Kumi Morris said. Thirteen bids came in for this project, she said.

The behind-the-scenes work is now done, and the contractor is ready to build, Morris said. The contractor is scheduled to complete the fire station by July 30, 2011.

More than $2.2 million in I-JOBS initiative dollars are funding the construction of this project. Lt. Gov. Patty Judge was part of the October 2009 groundbreaking ceremony for the new station, touting the dollars the initiative was bringing to Johnson County.

“The groundbreaking was to celebrate the I-JOBS funding that was granted to the project,” Morris said.

The design will be similar to the rebuilt station No. 2, completed in December 2008, and officials hope the fourth station also will earn gold certification from the in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Plans for Station No. 4 call for a geothermal system, use of

daylighting, water-efficient fixtures and other systems, Morris said.

It also will be the first Iowa City fire station to have a drive-thru apparatus bay, Morris said.

“That will be great for the user,” she said. “It improves safety response time for the vehicles.”

Rocca said drive-thru bays are a common design that works well for this site.

“It lends itself very well for the drive-thru concept,” Rocca said. “We are excited about the drive-thru facility.”

Building a fourth fire station in the northeast area of town will dramatically improve response times to calls in the area, cutting the response time from an average of eight to 10 minutes down to six, Rocca said.

“Having four fire stations and essentially five fire companies to work with is going to make a huge difference,” Rocca said.

Tax increment financing, roll-off money and the 1 percent franchise fee will fund hiring nine additional firefighters for a three-person engine company that will staff the new station 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

In the year it will take for construction, other behind-the- scenes work now has to happen, Rocca said. Interviews will begin in the near future to ramp up staffing numbers and the configuration of the city will change to develop four districts based on the street network and station locations, he said.

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