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  • Writer's pictureArizona Contractor & Community

Willmeng celebrates opening of Avondale Fire Station 175

The City of Avondale officially activated its fifth fire station recently, celebrating the opening of Fire Station 175 with a ribbon-cutting and open house. Fire Station 175, nicknamed "The Oasis", is located at 12495 W. Van Buren. It will house the department's Batallion 171 and Ladder 175 and is a much-needed addition to the city's public safety apparatus.

"When you look at this station and you look at the commitment that the city council has made to our residents and, just as importantly, to our firefighters, this fire station is an extension of that partnership," Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise said at the ribbon-cutting event. "It says to our firefighters that we value them. It says that we care about your safety with this state-of-art facility. And to our residents, it means a 10 percent decrease in response times throughout the city when we put this station into action."

The facility was designed and constructed on a compacted schedule. Perlman Architects designed the 17,000 square foot structure and Willmeng Construction built it. Work started in April 2021 and was completed in February 2022.

"This was a very fast-paced project. This type of facility typically takes a year to design, but this one was designed and constructed in less than a year," said Perlman Architects Commercial Director Gerrald Adams. "A lot of heart, a lot of passion went into this project. This was the all-star team that put this together."

For its part, Willmeng overcame a host of challenges to complete the work on time and on budget. Covid hit the team hard during parts of the construction process, causing some staffing shortages, and materials were delayed, or prices changed. Through it all, the team produced a striking building that is designed to serve the community for many decades to come.

"We're extremely grateful to be here today, and humbled to have the opportunity to build this beautiful facility for the City of Avondale," said Willmeng Partner Keith Sabia, who leads the firm's public sector work. "Our team dealt with these challenges through the course of this project and we hit the date, because we knew that this fire station had to provide a service to the community. This station provides new services to the city, so we knew as a partner that we had to do our part to deliver."

The $12.4 million, 17,000-square-foot facility includes three bays, office space, 12 dorm rooms, lockers for 36, a full kitchen, dining room, laundry facilities, training area, exercise room, and spaces for public service outreach programs.

In September 2020, Avondale was awarded a $3 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to hire 14 new firefighter positions. New personnel hired to staff Fire Station 175 graduated fire academy training in May 2021.

"I want to thank the City, the mayor and the council for their support during this endeavor; we couldn't have done this without their support," Avondale Fire Chief Larry Rooney said. "Gerrald and the Perlman team really listened to our needs and really took care of us, and we have a beautiful product. And the Willmeng team, they built this like it was their home."

Mayor Weise noted that Avondale opened its first fire station in 1947 and the city will celebrate the department's 75th anniversary in July.

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