Dignitaries dig in dirt
August 1, 2012
By Michele Mihalovich
A contractor’s bulldozer officially broke ground for North Bend’s new fire station July 11, but that did not dampen the spirits of dignitaries who showed up for the ceremonial digging of dirt July 25.
“This is huge,” North Bend City Councilman Alan Gothelf said. “It’s been a long time in coming, but I’m glad we finally broke ground.”
North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing went so far as to describe the groundbreaking as a “landmark in the history of North Bend, in particular, the successful collaboration with so many different entities.”
There was no doubt that the area needed a new building. Firefighters with Eastside Fire & Rescue, and paramedics from the Bellevue Fire Department’s Medic One, sleep in a building downtown built in the 1940s, and contend with rats and occasional sewage backups, EFR Deputy Chief Bud Backer has said.
He also pointed out that there’s no sprinkler system, the sleeping areas are separated with office dividers and the building isn’t structurally sound enough to withstand earthquakes.
So North Bend and King County Fire District No. 38 entered into an interlocal agreement to pursue a $5 million bond to construct a new facility.
And in a special election in February 2011, voters overwhelmingly approved the bond, with 73.21 percent approving the bond in North Bend, and 62.01 percent approving it in the fire district.
The new 13,166-square-foot fire station, on the corner of East North Bend Way and Maloney Grove Avenue Southeast, will house a minimum of three firefighters and two paramedics, with bay space to support a ladder truck, engine, aid car, water tender and two paramedic units, according to an EFR press release.
Kirtley-Cole Associates was awarded the nearly $4.1 million contract and is expected to complete the building by this time next year.
Hearing, with shovel in hand, told the crowd gathered at the work site that the new fire station will be an “important fixture in our city as it grows.”
He thanked everyone involved in the project, “particularly the volunteers who helped get the bond passed. With such overwhelming support at the polls, we knew we were doing the right thing for this community.”