Story by Ralph Nichols
Photos by Scott Schaefer
It was a long time coming, but with the Burien/Normandy Park headquarters fire station finally operational, local residents will soon get a close-up look at this state-of-the-art facility.
A public open house including guided tours of the station at 900 SW 146th Street (map below) will be held on Saturday, July 16, according to Chief Mike Marrs of King County Fire District No. 2.
And a major addition at the fire station is anticipated in the meantime with the location of a paramedic unit there around June 1, Marrs told The B-Town Blog.
“We’re working out a lease agreement with King County Medic I,” he said. “This will be the first time we’ve had a paramedic unit here.” Burien and Normandy Park have been served until now by the Medic I unit in SeaTac.
“The firefighters really like it a lot,” Marrs said of the new station. “It is everything we had hoped for in the design.”
Firefighters and other operations staff moved into the new station on Dec. 20 – more than three years after the original date for completion and occupancy.
Administration personnel, who were involved with an annual state audit at the time, vacated the old station – outdated and undersized – at SW 151st Street and 8th Ave SW on Jan. 5.
Construction on the new headquarters station started in late summer 2011 with completion expected about a year later. Bayley Construction of Mercer Island was the general contractor.
As work entered its final stages, however, several problems became apparent:
The new engine bay doors – the yellow/black striped area on the left – don’t meet as flush as they should.
The arches above the engine bay doors don’t match the colors and texture as promised.
There was a rebar problem near the rear northeast corner of the building.
The troubled rebar blocks have all been replaced.
The fire district refused to take occupancy of the new station until these defects were corrected to specifications but for the most part Bayley made only minor upgrades – leading to a standoff that Marrs described at the time as “a serious contractual dispute with the contractor.”
A subcontractor did repair flaws in its work, but Bayley still refused to budge even as the fire district incrementally applied more legal pressure while still trying to avoid the cost of a lawsuit.
“We fought to hold the contractor responsible,” Marrs told The B-Town Blog recently. “We did due diligence by holding them responsible for the defects. Then, after another round of legal discussions last year, the contractor finally agreed to fix all outstanding problems with construction.”
“We’re extremely proud,” Marrs added. “We got what we paid for. We are so thrilled to be in it finally.”
And there were no delays or interruptions in any department responses as they moved and settled in.
The new station’s bays can accommodate any fire engine, aid car or other response vehicle in any slot – including the department’s ladder truck, which before the move had to be parked away from downtown.
Another important feature of the new station is spacious dedicated training areas, and a large common area for meetings.
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