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New Fire Station Designs Unveiled

Artist’s rendering of the proposed new Sanford Fire Department headquarters

Artist’s rendering of the proposed new Sanford Fire Department headquarters.

Source: City of Sanford

By Zendelle Bouchard

At the City Council meeting on March 19, 2024, members of the public got their first detailed look at plans for the proposed new fire stations. If voters approve the project in November construction will take place over the next few years. The presentation by Bob Mitchell of WBRC/Mitchell Associates showed artist’s renderings of the interior and exterior of both stations, along with detailed floor plans.

Site plan of the proposed SFD Headquarters

Site plan of the proposed SFD Headquarters, on the site of the former Springvale Nurseries and Courtney Cleaners.

Source: City of Sanford

The design goals of the project include firefighter health and safety, inclusive design and energy efficiency. Each station has separate hot, warm and cold zones to protect firefighters from cancer-causing chemicals that adhere to their vehicles and equipment while they are battling fires. Quiet bunk areas away from station activity are designed to minimize the long-term effects of sleep deprivation that firefighters often experience. Private, gender neutral bathrooms and shower facilities provide equity for female firefighters. Dedicated training spaces allow firefighters to get the skills they need in the most efficient manner possible.

The SFD Headquarters is planned to be built at the corner of Main Street and Mayflower Drive in South Sanford. The district station in Springvale will be built on Payne Street, near the intersection with Pleasant and Water Streets.

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Springvale District Fire Station.

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Springvale District Fire Station.

Source: City of Sanford

Councilors discussed whether to plan for a June or November referendum. They settled on November, even though the six-month delay will cost an estimated additional $1.3 million, as they felt the presidential election will result in a much larger voter turnout. The total cost for the construction of both stations is projected at $42.5 million. If voters reject the project this year, every year of delay will lead to an additional $2.6 million in cost.

Site plan of the proposed Springvale station

Site plan of the proposed District station, on the site of the former Notre Dame Church and School.

Source: City of Sanford

Mitchell showed numerous photos of the existing conditions at the two stations, where there is insufficient storage and no way to clean contaminated equipment safely. Female firefighters must wait to shower until their male coworkers are finished, meaning they have even longer exposure to toxins. Those trying to sleep are unable to get away from the noise of operations. The existing stations do not meet OSHA requirements or National Fire Protection Association standards, leaving the city at risk of expensive lawsuits.

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