City Council officials voted Tuesday to spend $498,320 toward a design contract for a Hillcrest fire station, allocating funds to address a rebuild-starved site in favor of addressing the need for new stations elsewhere.
Fire Station 5, located at 3902 Ninth Ave., is plagued with roof and floor leaks as well as problems with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, officials said, adding that it made no sense to keep pouring money into its repairs and maintenance.
Also, the station, placed in service about 60 years ago, cannot accommodate a modern ladder truck; a rebuild would change that.
"Fire Station 5 annually gets about 4,300 calls a year,” said Dep. Chief Lorraine Hutchinson, San Diego Fire and Rescue. “What we would like to see is 2,500 a year. So having the truck there would take some of the pressure off of the engine company that's running all those calls."
Project critics point to a consulting group’s recent determination that San Diego needs 10 more fire stations in other areas.
Javis Ross, a Point Loma resident, said City Council’s priorities should be “those under-served communities.”
Rob Wellington Quigley will architect the $7 million project. He has also designed the $17 million Bayside fire station, which some have dubbed the “Ferrari of fire stations.”
That station was bankrolled by redevelopment money — not city capital funds.
“Bring fire stations into those where we need them,” Ross said. “I'm also greatly concerned about how they happen to choose the same architect all the time for these. We have a lot of other architects who, in my book, are qualified."
Officials say Quigley's architecture fee accounts for just over half of the $498,000 design contract approved by the City Council.The rest will go to geotechnical services.
Construction funding will come from the next round of the city's deferred capital bond financing.