North Aurora Citizens,
The North Aurora Fire Protection District will be seeking voter approval at the June 28th, 2022, primary election for $10,000,000 to replace station #1 at 2 N. Monroe St.
The North Aurora Fire Protection District was established in 1908, consisting of a Fire Chief and twenty-two volunteers. Voluntary or “Paid-on call” staff filled the ranks for nearly a century until 1993 when the first fulltime member was hired. Currently we have twenty-five fulltime firefighters, fifteen part-time firefighters and respond to around 2500 emergencies a year.
The North Aurora Fire Protection District has two fire stations. Station #1 was built in its current location on Monroe Street in 1963. Due to continued growth within the Village, station #2 was opened in 2007. In 1963 the fire department ran a successful referendum for $110,000 to secure property and build a new fire station. Station #1 was built to accommodate a small voluntary force responding to a couple of hundred emergencies a year protecting a community of 2500 people.
Since station #1’s opening in 1963, the staff size and operational needs of the fire district have evolved and increased exponentially requiring several remodels and renovations to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the community and the firefighters serving out of that station. After nearly 60 years of transformation and progress station #1 is no longer able to fit the needs of this community and the men and women who protect it.
Dewberry Architects Inc. was selected by the North Aurora Fire Protection District to conduct a facility and space needs assessment of station #1 to determine the available options to increase space and catch up to current standards of safety, efficiency, and technology. After a thorough assessment of station #1 Dewberry Architects Inc. concluded that the issues found at station #1 are too costly to recommend renovation of the existing facility.
“The current fire station #1 facilities are undersized or have prohibitive layouts for effective use of the facility which limits the optimal workflow of the firefighters and administrative staff. The fire station also has aged building HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems nearing the end of their useful life and will require replacement and upgrades to meet today’s current standards. To achieve the long-term operational goals of the North Aurore Fire Protection District, Dewberry is recommending the demolition of the existing fire station #1 and replacement. This recommendation is based on our assessment of the existing conditions of the facility, potential cost of repair, the required demolition, and additions to allow for the needed functional changes in how the firefighters use the facility and meet todays and future firefighter safety, health, and wellness standards.”
Dewberry’s professional assessment of the facility determined that the following issues would prove too costly to move forward with a renovation and addition of the existing facility.
- ADA compliancy issues for renovations.
- Constructability of required modifications to Apparatus Bay
- New apparatus equipment heights will not allow equipment to fit through the door openings
- Underground plumbing issues worsening over time
- Structural difficulty to modify pre-engineered structure (living side)
- Current energy code issues make it difficult and expensive to modify existing facilities with the amount of space changes that would be needed in station #1.
- Site topography and drainage challenges causing water infiltration.
- Poor parking lot condition.
- Reconfigure layout of offices, lobby, and conference rooms.
- Repair and paint of existing gypsum wallboards, CMU walls and ceiling tiles.
- Replace and update flooring. (Including old asbestos tiles)
- Replace all perimeter sealant at openings.
- Replace damaged doors and frames.
- Extensive repair work needed on the exterior envelope.
- Renovations to the telecommunication infostructure.
- Renovations to the existing alarm system.
- Upgrades to the lighting systems.
- Upgrades to the existing Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing systems.
Dewberry determined space needs projections from an assessment of existing available spaces, needs for spaces, industry standards for spaces, and for moderate future growth potential. Based on the current number of staff members and the projected future staff member growth, space standards were used to create a proposed square footage. The total space needed was identified as “24,296 gross square feet”. Currently station #1 is calculated around 10,000 square feet. There are two annex buildings for an additional 6,000 square feet used for storage, mechanical repair, specialty vehicles, reserve vehicles and a workout room. All buildings combined still fall 10,000 sq feet short of the needed space and contribute to issues and delays from not being under one roof.
The tentative plan is to rebuild on our current location. However, we are engaged in conversations with the Village to possible swap land on the same block or adjacent to it. There are options that may prove beneficial to both the Fire District and the Village of North Aurora. The goal is to spec and build a firehouse that will allow us to better serve the community now and for future generations.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $12,000,000. The district has saved $2,500,000 for station replacement which will cover remaining costs or potentially lesson the amount needed from taxpayers. Preliminary numbers estimate an annual tax impact to homeowners of $40 for every $100,000.00 of assessed home valuation.
I want to thank you for taking the time to consider your options. We at the North Aurora Fire Department feel truly blessed and honored to service this community and whole heartedly appreciate the citizens we serve. Feel free to reach out for further information or come visit us. We love guests and would be more than happy to answer any questions and show you around.
Mike Klemencic – Interim Fire Chief