Kodiak City Councilmembers get first glimpse of new fire station design

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Plans for Kodiak’s new fire station are moving along. Late last month, City Councilmembers got a first look at the concept for the new building.

The concept presented to Kodiak City Council by Palmer-based Wolf Architecture includes a single story on Mill Bay Road with a drive through garage bay for the station’s trucks and engines. Two additional floors would be built into the hillside with a public entrance facing Baranof Park on the bottom level. 

A sign marks the site where Kodiak’s new firehouse will sit, on MIll Bay Road and out of the tsunami inundation zone. (Photo: Kirsten Dobroth/KMXT)

“So far we’ve had very positive reviews on the design, I have not heard very many negative ones at all,” said said Councilmember Rich Walker, who serves on the city’s firehouse design committee.

There’s reason to be excited; Kodiak’s current fire station is in desperate need of replacing. Parts of the original building are from the 1940s and are crumbling. The earthquake in 2018 created even more structural problems – and to top it off, it sits in the tsunami inundation zone. 

The city of Kodiak received $7 million in funding from the federal omnibus spending package passed earlier this year, which was allocated through the late Congressman Don Young. And Gov. Dunleavy’s most recently signed capital budget also includes $15 million for a new station – bringing the city’s available funds to $22 million so far for the project.

However, the total cost for the new station presented to Councilmembers at last month’s work session is $27.9 million. That’s because of inflation and supply chain issues – and additional soft costs, like furniture for the new facility. But that price tag isn’t final. Kodiak City Manager Mike Tvenge.

“As we get close to the final design, that’s when we’ll know our costs more accurate.” said Tvenge.

The city expects to receive a more detailed design with an updated cost estimate next month – and a guaranteed maximum price sometime in April. Both would need approval from the City Council, and if the city does need more money, Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson said finding the funds hasn’t held up the project before. 

“This has been the city’s number one project for several years, and we never put it on hold not knowing where the funding was going to come from,” said Branson.

Branson and city officials say they could break ground on the new fire station as early as June. 

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