Village of Suamico – History of the Fire Department
The Suamico Fire Department was established in 1952 by a group of volunteers who felt that the Town of Suamico needed its own fire department. At that time a 1952 fire truck was purchased and kept at a member of the department's home who had an extra storage shed to house the fire truck. It was later moved to an address at 1752 Riverside Drive.
In 1955, the Town of Suamico broke ground on a community center located at 1745 Riverside Drive. It was decided in 1964, to add garage space onto the community center for storage of the fire trucks. The addition in 1964 was 28’ wide by 58’ long. As more trucks and equipment were needed the Community Center/Fire Department was expanded onto in 1978. The addition measured 33’ wide by 58’ long. This is the last addition to the Fire Station #1 that is still in use today.
Current Fire Station #1 at 1745 Riverside Drive
Due to very rapid growth to the southern and western parts of the Town, a second fire station was built on the corner of Northwood Road and White Pine Road in 1994. The station was designed with an apparatus bay, one office, a meeting room and a small kitchen.
Updated June 2019
The Community Center/Fire Station #1 added a wall in 2001 to make office space for the Fire Chief and for deputies of the Brown County Sheriff’s Department that are contracted with Suamico. When the Sheriff's Department moved to the new Municipal Services Center the space was absorbed by the fire department as a gear room and inspectors/record keeping office.
Why Does the Village Need a New Fire Station?
Fire Station #1, located at 1745 Riverside Drive has outlived the Fire Department. The apparatus bays were not designed for the modern day fire truck. The trucks are bigger and heavier than what the building can handle. This is evident by looking at the concrete aprons outside the garage doors, which have failed. With the success of the commercial businesses in the immediate vicinity our firefighters find it difficult to park their vehicles to get the Fire trucks out the door. This puts your safety at risk by delaying response times.
There is insufficient room inside the apparatus bay due to the size of the trucks and the dimensions of the building. Station 1 houses an Engine, a Heavy Rescue vehicle, a second Command vehicle, 2 brush trucks, a Tender (a truck that hauls water) and our vintage 1952 Parade truck. On the walls of the apparatus bays are lockers for the Firefighters to store their turnout gear. They have a difficult time putting on the gear due to the lack of space. Every two weeks firefighters do “truck checks” where they take everything out of the trucks, inspect it, run it, and make sure everything is in working order then replace it. In the warmer months, the extra apparatus can be pulled out to make room, in the colder months it is impossible.
The Village of Suamico has been investigating, reviewing, and planning the replacement of Fire Station #1, located at 1745 Riverside Drive in Historic Downtown Suamico for the past five years. The existing facility was initially constructed in 1964, over 54 years ago. While it has been expanded and modified over the years, it is cramped and outdated. As technology and equipment standards have changed, the facility has become less efficient, effective, and operational.
A “working committee” was formed in 2017 consisting of members in the Fire Department, County Rescue, Village staff and a Village Board member to research and make recommendations to the Village Board related to the development of a new fire station. This committee was dubbed the “Fire Station #1 Review Committee.”
Fire Station #1 Review Committee Members
Andy Smits; Bill Sturke; Brent Ward; Chris Gabryszek; Jeremy Ebner; Jerry Vanden Plas; Jim Kowalkowski; Joe Bertler; Mike Schneider; Randy Weytens; Rob Zastrow; Robert Euclide; Scott Legois; Scott Wesa; Troy Noe
The Village secured property at the intersection of West Deerfield Drive and Riverside Drive from the Wisconsin DOT in 2015 with the vision that it may be an option for a future fire station. The Review Committee researched different locations in the Village and ultimately decided that the West Deerfield Drive/Riverside Drive property was the most suitable location for a new fire station.
The Village Board approved staff to proceed with preliminary site work at the West Deerfield site at the Village Board meeting on February, 5, 2018 (2/5/18 Minutes).
Using excess sales tax funds from the Lambeau Field Stadium sales tax the Village authorized the use of up to $100,000 for site preparation in March 2018. Resolution 18005.
Space Needs/Feasibility Study
A space needs study helps municipalities understand the space requirements necessary for a facility, in this case, a fire station to adequately meet the required demands not only for today, but well into the future. These studies can also provide a conceptual drawing of a new facility.
At the public Village Board meeting on Monday, July 17, 2017, the Board voted 6-0 to direct the Fire Station #1 Review Committee to advertise a request for proposal (RFP) for a Space Needs Study for a new fire station (7/17/17 Minutes).
At the public Village Board meeting on Monday, February 15, 2018, the Board voted 6-1 to task the Fire Station #1 Review Committee with screening the six Space Needs Study proposals and ultimately make a recommendation to the Village Board on which firm to select (1/15/18 Minutes).
At the public Village Board meeting on Monday, April 2, 2018 the Board voted 5-1 to approve the hiring of Five Bugles Design to conduct a space needs analysis for Fire Station 1 at a cost of $11,500 (4/2/18 Minutes).
The Study recommended 18,600 square feet for the Fire Department and an additional 4,860 square feet for a shell that may be used for future full-time staffing space. The study also recommended 6,400 square feet for County Rescue. The decision to include a shell space and/or County Rescue services is yet to be determined by the Village Board. At the public Village Board meeting on Monday, February 18, 2019 the Board voted 6-1 to accept the findings of the Space Needs Study (2/18/19 Minutes).
Professional Design Services
Professional design services typically includes architects and engineers to create a schematic design of a building and once approved, a final design with construction documents. Often times this service is provided simultaneously with a Construction Management firm to ensure the project meets the needs and desires of the client (in this case, the Village of Suamico). The Construction Manager will assist with the bidding process and construction of the facility.
At the public Village Board meeting on Monday, February 18, 2019 the Board voted 7-0 to direct staff to prepare a professional design services RFP for a new fire station and to include a Construction Manager element within said RFP. The Village Board also voted 6-1 to include an alternate bid option for an EMS Bay within the design. (2/18/19 Minutes).
At the public Village Board meeting on Monday, June 17, 2019 the Board voted 7-0 to approve a professional design services contract with Five Bugles Design with a not-to-exceed cost of $288,500. Two other proposals were considered and are available for the public to review upon request. Construction Management services are still under consideration as of June 28, 2019.
Five Bugles Design – Fire Station Professional Design Services Full Proposal (this is a large file and may take time to load)
Will the New Fire Station Raise My Taxes?
At this time a tax increase is not anticipated to fund a new fire station. It is expected that the Village will finance the new facility through funds that are bonded and borrowed in 2020 and repaid through managed debt service payments that are more than offset by planned debt service reductions in 2020, 2022 and 2027;
- 2020 reduction of $336,308.00 for payoff of 2009 General Obligation Note for municipal building, street improvements, and fire & public works equipment.
- 2022 reduction of $374,565.00 for payoff of 2011 General Obligation Note for street improvements, park acquisition, TID #2 improvements, and refinanced bonds.
- 2026 reduction of $164,209.00 for payoff of 2014 General Obligation Note for refinanced 2006 bonds and 2007 note.
- Total reductions in debt service payments through 2026 = $875,082.00.
While the true cost of a new facility will not be known until the project is bid, the project is anticipated to cost $5,000,000 to $6,000,000. A General Obligation Note for 20 years at $6,000,000 would require annual debt service payments of approximately $435,000.00/year.
The Village will explore options to reduce the total cost and debt service payments via grant opportunities and soliciting donations.
Interested in making an in-kind or monetary donation for the new fire station? Please contact Village Administrator, Alex Kaker at (920) 434-2212.
Tentative Schedule (updated June 2019)
July 2019 – Review site analysis & space needs analysis with Five Bugles Design and begin schematic design drawings (includes depicting floor plans, elevations, materials, and draft cost estimate).
August 2019 – Schematic design approval
September/October 2019 – Design development approval (specifies materials, window/door locations, etc.)
November 2019 to January 2020 – Construction documents completed (includes detailed cost estimate)
January/February 2020 – Project bidding
March 2020 to March 2021 – Construction administration
Who to Contact?
Questions, comments or concerns can be directed to Village Administrator, Alex Kaker. Alex can be reached by phone at (920) 434-2212 or by email at AlexK@suamico.org.