The Lake Stevens Fire District has purchased the old Barclays North buildings in South Lake Center.
The buildings will be used for Administration and Emergency Operations.
At the Lake Stevens Fire Commission meeting held last Monday, June 15, Lake Stevens Fire Commissioners voted to put off hiring new firefighters at this time. In reviewing data they were given, Commissioners found no compromise in response times and promised to consider hiring firefighters at a future date.
.As part of the levy commitment to the community the Lake Stevens Fire District has now acquired buildings that will be used as the Administrative and Emergency Operations Center
“I want to be sure the public understands that the delay of hiring firefighters this year is not related to this capital purchase. The capital and operations budgets are separate,” Fire Commissioner Vern Foster said. “Capital funds that the public authorized are being spent just as the community has designated them to be spent. The operational budget shortage, that caused a delay in hiring, is mainly due to the drop in new construction starts, the downturn of the economy, and the loss of the Whiskey Ridge revenue.”
The fire district board of commissioners purchased the three northern buildings of the South Lake Center located in Lake Stevens, formerly owned by Barclays North.
“The district is yet another step closer to keeping its levy commitment to the public.” Lake Stevens Fire Chief Gary Faucett said.
The original intent was to build an Administration and Emergency Operations Center across from its Chapel Hill fire station. However, stricter buffers caused by changes in the Snohomish County critical area ordinance made that impossible.
“When the South Lake Center became available, we saw a unique opportunity to fulfill the levy obligation at a substantial savings to the public,” Foster said. “The benefits we realized were that the facility is three times larger than we had originally planned, which means expansion possibilities will carry us for several years; it can be occupied by the end of summer; and the craftsmanship of the buildings is top notch. As a commissioner I feel this is a win-win-win situation, and is wise use of public funds.”
The fire district will take occupancy of the Administrative Building in early Fall, by the district’s administrative staff. The back building will become the Emergency Operations and Training Center. It will also be available to the community for public meetings and events. This building can accommodate over 200 people with the availability of a commercial kitchen.
After researching the options available, the fire district was able to purchase the buildings at a huge savings to the taxpayers and giving them more bang for their buck.
“I believe that we have taken our time,” Faucett said. “We’ve done a lot of research, it’s been difficult to keep up with the economy. In the end, it’s a great opportunity and value for the community.”
The original building to be built on Chapel Hill, would have been an 8,800 square foot building that would have cost taxpayers over $8 million.
The South Lake buildings have a total of 18,000 square feet and cost taxpayers $4.5 million which includes substantial furniture, fixtures and equipment.
It will also enable the district to continue to grow without purchasing or constructing new buildings for a very long time.
“To be able to acquire this amount of space is phenomenal for the future of this community,” Faucett said.
Part of the space in the building on Chapel Hill has already been outfitted to be used as a decontamination room in case of bio-terrorism. Only minor adjustments will have to be made after administrative staff moves into the new offices. It will also provide a space for bunker gear and other storage.