Construction of new Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District to start Friday | AspenTimes.com

Construction of new Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District to start Friday

Construction workers Friday will pour the first layer of concrete that will serve as the foundation to the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District's future $17 million home.

After demolishing the old fire station in late May and two-plus months of digging, Snowmass Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Issel said the district is "excited to see (the station) start to go vertical."

Construction of the new firehouse is behind about one month due to "bad soil" that the construction team discovered while excavating the site, Snowmass Fire Chief Scott Thompson said.

In essence, the soil beneath the surface was mostly clay-based, which does not compact well, project engineer Jack Beard said.

"What you want is soil that will settle, which is good, granular soil," Beard explained. "That's why we do all this, for settlement issues."

A "failing" foundation on the fire district's 46-year-old former station was among its many issues and need for a new site, Issel said.

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This time around, the goal is to construct a "sound, safe building for the next 50 to 75 years," he said.

"We're a little stressed right now with the soil and the water and where we're at," Thompson admitted. "But no matter what we do, we have to meet that timeline," which means relocating the department to its new station prior to the start of the 2018-19 winter season.

"We're pushing the contractor to make that up over the next year," Thompson said. "We all know that there is a drop deadline."

In the interim, operations at Snowmass' temporary Fire Department at the Rodeo Lot — which consists of a 4,200-square-foot tent, three mobile structures and five apparatuses — are going well, Issel said.

One first responder on-site joked that the temporary facility, which the firefighters affectionately refer to as the "lake house," according to Issel, has been somewhat of a bonding experience, as the living quarters are tight and accommodations are modest.

"We tried to make this work as best possible so that we can continue to provide services at a high level," Issel said. "It's the bare necessities but just what we need to get by."

erobbie@aspentimes.com

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