Architect sought for Freeland fire station

"The new Freeland fire station at Cameron Road and Highway 525 will have an architect before long.Right now, the station is just a concept. But Wednesday night the Fire District 3 commissioners voted to call for proposals from architects. After interviews to pick the right architect, preliminary design work will begin.All agreed that the public will be part of the design process after an initial drawing is made. People need something to look at, said Commissioner Bill Benjamin.By having input on the design, Commissioner Mike Helland added, they'll feel some sense of ownership and pride in the thing.The move Wednesday cements the Cameron road site as the home of the future fire station. There was some talk earlier this year of buying land adjoining the existing station across from the post office and building it there. But Chief Don Smith said an advisory committee rejected that idea due to heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area.The Cameron Road station will be visible from Highway 525, but fire trucks will exit onto the county road.Smith said the station should be designed to accommodate growth in Freeland for the next 15 to 20 years, and Commissioner Bob Elliot and the others concurred. Smith anticipates building for deep bays that ultimately can house a ladder truck, tender, pumper and aid unit. In addition, there would be a kitchen, sizeable day room, and enough capacity for six firefighters to sleep in the facility.The Cameron Road property was purchased eight years ago when a different set of fire commissioners envisioned building the district headquarters there. But that idea was ultimately rejected in favor of what Smith terms a municipal building headquarters that will be built in the more centrally located Bayview.The commissioners are ready to move ahead quickly with construction of the Freeland station. It is already behind a timetable established earlier. Chief Smith said $500,000 was budgeted last year for ground work, and construction was expected to begin this year. "

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