Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority named, construction of new $20 million Snowmass fire station on track | AspenTimes.com

Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority named, construction of new $20 million Snowmass fire station on track

Construction of the new $20 million home for part of the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority — the name of the merger between the Snowmass Village and Basalt fire districts — is about one week ahead of schedule for an early fall completion.

While soil complications amid the site excavation last summer delayed the project timeline by about one month, a dry winter accelerated construction, Snowmass Fire Chief Scott Thompson said.

"It's really getting into that final planning stage here where all the details get ironed out," Snowmass Fire Marshal John Mele said April 5 while leading a tour of the new facility.

Among its many bells and whistles, the 32,473-square-foot, state-of-the-art station will include seven bays for housing apparatus, a command room, kitchen and day rooms, a "training tower," seven soundproof bedrooms for the firefighters, six studio apartments as part of the district's resident training program, a 600-square-foot workout facility, a lobby and reception area.

"Being a mixed-use project with the fire station component (and) having different occupancy, it's a very challenging project type," Ryan Hoffner, an architect with Charles Cunniffe Architects, said while walking the site April 5. "But they're moving fast."

As a memento, the station also will house the roughly 20-foot fire pole from the former facility, which Mele said is simply to include "a piece of the old building" within the new.

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The fire district's previous department was 46 years old and measured at approximately 18,000 feet.

A failing foundation was among its many issues and need for a new firehouse, which Snowmass voters agreed to fund the majority of via a property tax that passed in November 2016.

Snowmass' changing landscape with Base Village and increased development in recent years also alters the demand on the fire district as well as how the firefighters respond to emergencies.

"As you can see across the street," Mele said from the top floor of the Snowmass Center, where the fire department's administrative office is temporarily located, "the buildings are getting a lot taller."

"So when you have a fire in these type of buildings, now the mentality is you have to fight the firefighter from within," he said of the multiple story structures.

As such, one part to the new fire station is a "training tower" designed to mimic the type of stairwells found in higher rise buildings such as the Viceroy and the new Limelight Hotel, which is expected to open in November.

Meanwhile at Snowmass' interim fire facility at the Rodeo Lot, Thompson said the firefighters are "getting by."

"It has functioned through the winter, but I wouldn't say (the firefighters) are perfectly comfortable," the fire chief said of the site, which consists of a 4,200-square-foot tent, three mobile structures and five apparatuses.

"It's not ideal but it has worked out as a temporary site," Thompson said. "The firefighters can't wait to get into the new station."

erobbie@aspentimes.com