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

acastillo@bradenton.comJuly 2, 2014 

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

Fire Station No. 4, 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 shifts.

Fire Chief Kenneth Price said the project surrounding the station is the district's last and largest. 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 Monday. "It's at the end of its life span, and to have enough space for full-time firefight

ers 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 Co., which has contracted with Wannamacher/Jenser Architects Inc. to handle the design with Allison/Gauge Inc.

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

An evaluation is under way to determine exactly where the new station will be built. Officials are eyeing a piece of property next to the district's administration building, 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.

"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 administrative office more than two years ago, said it needs a replacement.

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

Losek said he thinks most of the firefighters 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 do 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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