By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — An official with the Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that a 30-foot high fire station would be permissible on the village-owned site near the airport east of the BP gas station in Boyceville.
The Boyceville Community Fire District’s five-year planning committee met January 6 to discuss the height restrictions.
Mike Blechinger, the fire district’s representative from the Town of Tiffany, agreed at a committee meeting in December to contact the FAA about height restrictions for a new fire station.
“Thirty feet would be no problem at all,” Blechinger said, noting that the FFA official had said the fire station could be built as high as 50 feet, which is the maximum allowable building height set by Boyceville’s ordinances.
Blechinger provided to the FAA GPS coordinates taken from site near the airport and said the FAA representative had also used some of the FAA’s coordinates to make the determination.
The only problem with the site could possibly be the layout with Charlotte Street and extending the street into the airport property, Blechinger said.
The proposed fire station site is not in a restricted area for flight procedures, he said.
The next step would be to develop building plans with specific height and square-foot dimensions, Blechinger said.
After that, the fire district would have to file a form 7460 FAA Aerospace Study so the building could be lined up with the aeronautic charts, Blechinger said.
The study must be submitted to the FAA 45 days in advance of any construction starting at the site but can be submitted up to a year and a half before groundbreaking takes place, he said.
The fire district can submit the 7460 study and would not have to hire someone to do it, Blechinger said, noting that while he was at Subway talking to someone else about the study, Steve Bauder of Boyceville overheard him and offered to help.
Bauder has extensive experience with completing the studies, Blechinger said.
Rich Monn, chair of the five-year planning committee and the fire district’s representative from the Town of Stanton, wondered how much money the village would want for the site behind the BP gas station.
Gilbert Krueger, chair of the fire district, the district’s representative from the village of Boyceville and the Boyceville village president, said he envisioned the village board selling the site for the same amount that the village sold the site to the ambulance district for the new ambulance station — somewhere around $15,000.
Monn wondered what would happen if the 7460 study were completed but ground was not broken within a year and a half.
“I think we’d have to start all over,” Blechinger said.
Jo Palmer, also a fire district representative for the village and a village trustee, wondered whether the FAA would require construction to be completed within a certain amount of time.
Blechinger said it was a question to which he did not have an answer.
One or two?
Another question is whether the fire district should consider a one-story building or a two-story building.
“I want to see all of the options — one story and two story — so we can answer the questions that the community will ask,” Monn said.
Representatives for Five Bugles Design have said that some fire districts are building two-story fire stations, Monn noted.
“I have yet to see one,” commented Brian Marlette, Boyceville fire chief.
If the Boyceville fire department eventually needs to have a full-time manned station or a partially-manned station, a two-story building would leave room for sleeping quarters, Monn said.
If the second story is ready and waiting, walls could be easily constructed inside rather than having to build onto the fire station, Monn said.
Palmer wondered what the second story would be used for in the meantime.
The second story could be used for storage, offices, conference rooms and training, Monn said.
In addition, with a smaller footprint — going up rather than out — construction costs would probably be less for the same amount of square feet, he said.
Monn suggested that he could send a letter to Five Bugles Design asking for fire station designs for both a one-story and two-story building.
Krueger wondered about the fee for designing a building.
The agreed-upon fee with Five Bugles of a little over $5,000 would cover all of the preliminary work, Monn said.
“They told us if it takes five years or ten years, they would be with us the whole way,” he said.
“I think you’re on the right track with a two-story for future plans,” Blechinger said.
The fire district cannot proceed with the airport site until the height and square footage has been determined for the proposed fire station, Monn noted.
Marlette said he would prefer the fire department did not end up “pushed into something not functional.”
The existing Boyceville fire station is 44 years old, Krueger said.
A new fire station would be functional for another 40 or 50 years, he said.
“But who knows what we will need in 40 years? How obsolete will it be by then?” Krueger said.
Don Rose, director of public works and a volunteer firefighter, noted that he had started working in Boyceville in 2000.
“The station is 44 years old now, but it was past its useful life 14 years ago,” he said.
Five rows of fire fighting equipment are parked in the fire station in three available stalls, Rose said.
The existing fire station actually fit the needs of the fire department for 25 years, he said.
Ned Hahn, fire district representative from the Town of Hay River, said that with the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), the fire department most likely will not have to purchase more equipment.
The fire district should look at both a one-story and two-story building “so we know the facts. It’s easier to make decisions when you’ve got more facts,” Hahn said.
“By going up we should never run out of space. To me that’s ahead of the game,” Monn said.
Krueger suggested that the fire district should find out from Five Bugles Design where two-story fire stations are located.
“If they’re close, we could do a tour,” he said.
“We could set up a time and go. It would be helpful to see the two-story stations,” Hahn said.
Five Bugles could also send some pictures of two-story fire stations, Monn noted.
One of the firefighters attending the meeting pointed out that it would helpful to talk to those fire departments with two stories fire stations and find out what they like and what they dislike.
“It would tell us a lot if we talked to someone using a two-story building,” Hahn said.
Monn said he would contact Five Bugles Design about designs for a one-story and a two-story building, pictures of two-story fire stations and the locations of two-story fire stations that Boyceville fire district representatives could visit.
Monn said he hoped to have the information by the time of the next Boyceville Community Fire District meeting January 14.