Chelsea council selects architect for new fire station

The process for Chelsea’s long-awaited fire station is underway, as the City Council this month selected Chelsea-based Wanninger & Associates to design the station.

The process of choosing the architect took about three months, with four different architectural firms submitting preliminary designs for the new station, said Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven.

The station is now in the design phase, which is expected to take three months. After that, actually building the station should be a matter of nine months or so, Niven said.

“If everything goes well, we hope to have the station in the first quarter of 2010,” he said.

Originally, the plan was for Chelsea to purchase a ladder truck at approximately the same time. Now, however, the purchase of the ladder truck has been delayed. That reduces the city’s fire station budget from approximately $2.5 million to $1.3-$1.4 million.

The station, which will be 11,000 square feet, will have room for up to eight firemen to be on duty at all times, as well as providing a training area and four bay stations to provide better equipment storage.

“The goal for the station is to provide better living quarters for our firemen and provide better services for our citizens,” Niven said.

The new fire station is essential for the Chelsea Fire Department to be able to keep up with city growth, said Fire Chief Wayne Shirley.

“We don’t have enough space for our current staff, and we certainly don’t have room for any more growth,” he said. “We have sleeping space for three comfortably, and we’re squeezing about five people in there. We need the space for existing operations, as well.”

Fire Department officials have been well represented in planning for the new station, Shirley said. He said he believes the station will meet Chelsea’s needs for some time.

“With the current goals we have, (the station) will meet our needs for the foreseeable future,” he said.