Bayview Station 36 is one step closer to being open for business, after members of South Whidbey Fire/EMS pushed Engine 36 into the bay at the open house on August 24. The Push Back Ceremony was part of the day’s events which began with the presentation and raising of a flag which flew over the nation’s capital, by Marine Corps League Detachment 1451.
Throughout the day, over 500 people, even including a member of the Whidbey Island Sketchers, turned out for the dedication and tours. All three Fire Commissioners are former volunteer firefighters who exclaimed how much the volunteers and staff will appreciate the much-needed building and training facility. Commissioners Frank Mestemacher and Kenon Simmons both spoke noting that almost exactly one year ago to the day, the project broke ground. However, it has been a dream for the community for more than a decade. Simmons remarked how his father Carl Simmons, who volunteered for the department for over 50 years, was part of the team who constructed of the original Bayview Station. That aging building will now be repurposed to serve as the department’s primary maintenance facility.
Richard Dodge with Valdez Construction of Oak Harbor and Tim Goodman of Carletti Architects in Mount Vernon, were thanked for completing the building on time, and on budget. They, along with Chief H.L. “Rusty” Palmer and project superintendent Richard Canapo also with Valdez Construction, met every other Monday the entire year to pour over plans and timelines which resulted in completion with less than 1% of change orders. No new taxes were required due to the department’s sound fiscal management. Funds for the $5.8 million building were secured through bonds in 2017, including the additional 10% contingency funds and $500,000 anticipated sales tax. The low interest bonds were due to the department’s excellent AA S & P rating.
Over the next several weeks, the department staff are moving the administrative offices from the Freeland station, to the new centrally-located facility. The old offices will be converted back to sleeping quarters, as was originally intended. The new Bayview Station 36 is the first time the department will have administrative offices that were designed to serve in that capacity. It also has new sleeping quarters to help meet the growing demands of the department. The October 10th Fire Commissioner meeting is expected to be held at the new site, and falls during National Fire Prevention week. Fire Commissioner meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at 5:30 pm. and the public is always welcome.