City News

It’s not a matter of if but when.

That was the sentiment from the Sedona Fire District Governing Board and Chief Kris Kazian in regard to the need for a new fire station in Uptown — replacing the current one that’s 40 years old.

“We’ve got some significant challenges there as far as structurally,” board chairman Ty Montgomery said of Station 4 during the Jan. 18 meeting.
Kazian said talk of repair to Station 4 — or a complete replacement — has been discussed as far back at 2000. The station, which was built in the 1970s on Forest Road, is not large enough for some of the modern-day fire engines.

“Ideally a replacement of that station is in order,” Kazian told the board. “We’ve done some work to determine if a station on the current site is feasible or not. At this point we do believe there is a feasibility to outfit a station on that site and move forward with that as a direction.”

It’s yet to be determined the cost of a new station or where the funding would come from. However, the board also discussed potentially issuing a bond — that would have to be voted on — to cover the cost of renovations to other stations while replacing Station 4 as well as Station 5 in Oak Creek Canyon.

The board gave direction to staff to continue gathering information and costs associated with a new station. LEA Architects, which designed Station 6, provided preliminary drawings, which were distributed at the meeting.

During an interview the following day, Kazian gave additional details as to the need for a new station beginning with whether other pieces of property in Uptown were looked at as potential sites.

“SFD weighed all of our options and considered any parcels that may have been viable for a station location in the Uptown area,” he said. “At this time, building on the current site is the most feasible and likely the most cost effective.”

Kazian said there are both pros and cons to building on the same site. It will require SFD to develop a temporary relocation plan for the 10 to 12 months while construction is taking place. He said that will be one of the biggest drawbacks.

“The site size and dimensions are not perfect for us to develop an ideal floor plan,” he said. “It creates a situation where we have a long and skinny station, which makes some of the functionality and flow to be a little challenging. That being said, if that is the option we choose, the design and end product will be a fully-functional design that will meet our needs.”

Kazian said being on the same site creates closer access to the communication tower and the utilities that are on site. And the current site is a good location as part of SFD’s response model.

“We have good access to the homes in the Uptown area, to the north in Oak Creek Canyon as well as into West Sedona or down State Route 179 for incidents requiring Station 4 response,” he said.  

When asked if it was less expensive to build a new station as opposed to renovating the existing one, Kazian said the current site is not conducive to renovation based on its age and construction type.

“The building was likely not designed for its more commercial use as a fire station, but more in a residential-type construction,” he said, noting that at one time the station also served as the fire chief’s residence.

“While it has served its purpose well, it is time to retire the building and build a new commercial-grade structure designed to today’s standards. It is our goal to develop a plan to meet the best practices for fire station design to provide for quick and efficient emergency response to better serve our community.”

During construction, the plan would be to not leave Uptown to ensure coverage and response time. How and where that would happen is yet to be determined. SFD does own the parking lot — currently leased to the city for free parking — that could host a temporary building during construction and maintain its presence in Uptown.

“We do not intend to affect our response times to any of our response areas,” he said.


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