Tooele City moved closer to building a third fire station on Wednesday evening, May 17.
The governing body of the Municipal Building Authority, which consists of the Tooele City Council, voted, at a meeting held prior to the Tooele City Council business meeting on May 17, that it intends to bond for $9 million for costs related to a new fire station for Tooele City.
The Tooele City Council voted during their Dec. 21, 2022 meeting to approve an agreement with Murray-based Pasker Gould Ames & Weaver Architects to design a new fire station that would be over 15,000 square-feet. The new fire station will include six offices, the capability to run three full-sized engines out of the station, a kitchen, an exercise room, a dayroom, laundry room, and eight living quarters.
Fire Station #3 will be built on property already owned by Tooele City at 145 E. 1000 North, west of the AirMed helipad.
The original estimated cost was around $5 million based on a design that the firm had just completed at a cost of approximately $350 per square foot. Since that time, the architects have met with the fire department and customized the plan to Tooele City’s needs.
“This has slightly increased the square footage of the building and in addition, current cost estimates are coming in at over $500 per square foot,” said Shannon Wimmer, Tooele City finance director
The original budget listed was for just the building cost; it did not include roughly $1.2 million of site work that will be required on the site or the financing costs and interest on the bonds, according to Wimmer.
It is anticipated that the Municipal Building Authority will apply for low interest bonds through the Community Impact Board in the amount of $8.5 million and use $1.2 million of capital project funds already set aside for the building to complete construction of the building, including all site work and financing costs, according to Wimmer.
Mayor Debbie Winn said that the living quarters and office space in the new fire station are part of accommodating a growing volunteer department while planning ahead for an eventual possibility of a future full-time fire department or fire stations manned with part-time firefighters or volunteers.
“We have very competent volunteer firefighters that maintain a great ISO rating for the city,” Winn said. “There is no need to hire a full time fire department anytime soon. Someday — I hope several years from now — we may need to hire some part time firefighters or even pay stipends to our volunteers to stay at the station.”
Winn said she doesn’t see the city building another fire station for many more years, so the space for sleeping, kitchen facilities and training rooms will be built on now, preparing for future expansion when needed while saving money by including the space with this new building.
“The offices are needed today to accommodate our full-time fire chief, full-time fire marshal/emergency manager, our inspectors and our volunteer training officers,” Winn said. “We have a growing community and a fire department that is also growing, appropriately.”
A Municipal Building Authority is a separate legal entity from the city that is authorized by the state Legislature in state statute with the ability to bond and build municipal facilities. The Municipal Building Authority will bond for the project. The city will then lease the building from the building authority. Once the bond is paid off, the building will become the property of Tooele City.
“The lease payments will be made by the City to the MBA with existing revenue,” Wimmer said. “No additional property tax increase will be needed to cover the project.”