A local architectural firm has developed two options for expanding the Clinton Fire Department’s Beaman Street station, ultimately recommending to demolish the current facility in favor of building a new one at nearly double the size and with a $1.44 million price tag.
The expansion feasibility study was completed by JKF Architecture and recently distributed to City Council members for informational purposes, but not discussed. The future of the Beaman Street station may be discussed later this year, city officials said.
As part of the study, floor plans and site renderings were provided for two options, including associated costs. Those options include either adding on to the existing structure or building a completely new structure. The options, according to JKF representatives, “can be brought to full design within six months and readied for bid at the convenience of the City Council.”
The existing building is located at 1000 Beaman St. and consists of approximately 2,604 gross square feet of space located on approximately 2 acres. The building contains two drive-thru truck bays, each “nominally capable” of holding two vehicles, with doors 14 feet high by 14-feet wide. There is a unisex bathroom and an office in the building.
That structure is located in a floodway created by Beaverdam Branch and the flood elevation is 123 feet. Any new construction for the building, now at 117 feet, would be required to be elevated via 6 feet of off-site fill to 123 feet.
John K. Farkas, president of JKF Architecture, said two options were evaluated for the project.
The first option includes constructing stand-alone living quarters, an addition of 1,710 gross square feet to the southeast of the existing building, requiring the existing building to remain and function as truck bays and an office. No modifications of the interior are included in the first option, with construction centered solely on the addition.
The 1,700 square feet of new space would include new bedrooms and baths, as well as living and kitchen areas.
The connection to the existing building would be through a covered handicap accessible ramp. The new finished floor elevation of 123 feet would necessitate the ramp and significant site fill. Main truck access and egress would be from Beaman Street.
“We would, however, recommend the existing asphalt drive be widened for additional access from Peterson Street,” Farkas stated in the report. “This is recommended given the Beaman Street entrance is in the floodway. Additional parking for staff is recommended along this drive as well.”
The estimated total project cost for Option 1 is $761,287. That is about half the estimated cost for Option 2, which would cost $1,440,815 — that is the option JKF Architecture has recommended.
It includes constructing an entirely new 4,922 square foot facility to the southeast of the existing building, which would require the existing building to be demolished after the new station is completed.
New truck bays, an entry foyer, bedrooms, baths, living and kitchen areas would all be included in the new station. As with the other option, the new finished floor would be 123 feet and would require significant site fill and grading on the southeast portion of the site. According to JKF, portions of the existing site and paved areas would be utilized in the final design.
“The new building would be designed so trucks could enter on Beaman Street and exit to Peterson, or vice versa,” Farkas stated. He noted that the truck bays could be designed as an alternate bid, with the existing truck bays staying operational and the proposed area being prepared to add the new bays down the road. The truck bays make up $537,347 of Option 2’s estimated $1.44 million price tag.
“Based on the ability to provide an essential emergency facility in a safe location on this site, JKF Architecture recommends Option 2 as the most effective alternative for this site for the city of Clinton, this despite Option 1 at half the cost of Option 2,” Farkas stated. “The existing facility in its current location could be lost or damaged in a significant flooding event. Its construction does not appear to be flood-resistant or flood-proofed, and could not be rebuilt in its current location if damaged.”
A replacement facility could also be utilized as an emergency shelter, Farkas said. The goal would be to erect a new building, truck bays and all, he said.
“Not initially constructing the truck bays should be treated as a temporary solution,” Farkas said, “with the ultimate goal of removing the existing building out of the flood way.”
Assistant city manager Shawn Purvis said the future of the Beaman Street station could be discussed during a budget workshop in November, and the study was merely a way to get an idea of what renovations at the Beaman Street site would entail from a cost standpoint.
“That might be the earliest we talk about it,” said Purvis. “We just wanted to get an idea. Do we kind of need to look at another site? There’s a lot of site work involved as far as flood work. We might be able to do it cheaper, for somewhere between those two (option) numbers if we maybe looked at a different site.”
Purvis said that would ultimately be the decision of the Council, but the study at least gives them the monetary figures and extent of work they would be dealing with should the Beaman site continue to be utilized. For the short-term, temporary sleeping quarters in the form of outfitted mobile units would be placed at the site for the two to three firefighters manning the station.
A staffing study for the Clinton Fire Department completed earlier this year recommended the hiring of additional firefighters to man the Beaman Street station with a minimum of two personnel 24/7, a move that would decrease response times, improve fire protection and maintain the department’s Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating in that area.
While Wall Street station will remain the main station, manning another station would be necessary to maintain the rating of 5 for commercial, and 6 for residential. A renovated facility to accommodate those personnel, whether at Beaman Street and Peterson or elsewhere, is the ultimate aim.
“To maintain our ISO rating we would have to do that,” said Purvis. “We’re working toward that.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.