West Manatee Fire Rescue to replace one of its stations built in the '60s

acastillo@bradenton.comJune 30, 2014 

West Manatee Fire Rescue to replace one of its stations built in the '60s

MANATEE -- The West Manatee Fire & Rescue District is set to fully replace one of its stations by 2015.

Fire Station No. 4 -- located at 407 67th St. W. in Bradenton -- is at the center of a planned design build project. Built in the 1960s, the station was first established for volunteer firefighters. Now, the station is used by 21 full-time firefighters who work in three separate shifts.

Fire Chief Kenneth Price said the project surrounding the station is the district's last and largest project. On May 31, West Manatee Fire Rescue dedicated its Fire Station No. 2 after it was remodeled. That station now boasts a tripled size (2,100 square feet) and features a modern kitchen, television room, gym and a dining room that is used for training.

"I feel really good because that was an item that we identified way back in our first strategic plan," he said over the phone Monday morning. "It's at the end of its life span and to have enough space for full-time firefighters is going to have a tremendous impact for them on a daily basis."

The design build project was announced June 24 by Bradenton-based NDC Construction Company, which has contracted with Wannamacher/Jenser Architects Inc. to handle the design with Allison/Gauge Inc.

According to Price, the rough estimated cost for the entire project is currently $2 million to $2.5 million.

An evaluation is underway to determine exactly where the new station will be built. Officials are eyeing a piece of property next to the district's administration building, located at 6417 Third Ave W., Bradenton.

"There's the potential of purchasing that and building a fire station there," Price said.

Price said it would take three to five months to get through the design process, which is followed by an agreement of the project's cost. He hopes the new station will be completed before March or April 2015.

"We're very involved," Price said when asked about West Manatee Fire Rescue's input in the station's future design. "Their design team will come and meet with all our people and get our ideas of our needs like how much space we need for fire trucks."

Battalion Chief Rich Losek, who used to work at Station No. 4 before relocating to the district's admin office over two years ago, said it needs a replacement.

"I think it's just getting old," he said. "You've got leaks, possible mold."

Losek added that he thinks most of the guys are excited about the future replacement.

He mentioned the station's weight room.

"If you've got six guys in a weight room, it's just really cramped," he said. "I think most of the guys are excited (about the replacement)."

For Price, it's time for West Manatee Fire Rescue to upgrade its facilities.

"We've made due with what we have," he said. "This is enabling us to put enough space in so that we're not climbing all over each other."

Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.

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