The Woodlands Edition | October 2020

GOVERNMENT

Studywill reveal options, costs to address The Woodlands FireDepartment future facility needs

BY VANESSA HOLT

need for an additional re engine. “We’ve added a number of vehi- cles to our frontline eet as we’ve approached buildout … over the last 10 years. … That gives us some exi- bility as well for some equipment that we need, such as high-prole vehicles in the event of ooding,” Buck said. The next step after the township receives results of the study will be to determine how to fund the needs and continue to work eciently, he said. Although the re department bud- get for the 2021 scal year—which runs from January to December—is $237,448 greater than the previous year’s budget, the increases are mainly due to personnel costs, and the board of directors rejected several initiatives for additional administrative positions in the August budget talks.

facilities are estimated at about $14 million-$15 million, according to information from 2019 study presented in the 2021 budget. That includes the Branch Crossing station as well as stations at Sawdust Road, Bay Branch Drive and its I-45 Fire Training Center. “This level of costs is in excess of annual budget capabilities and may need to be funded through the issu- ance of debt obligations,” information in the budget states. The addition of a second company at the township’s Station No. 5, the westernmost facility in the township, will allow for better response times during simultaneous incidents, according to information in the budget. The second company would include 15 personnel, with a cost of $1.8 million annually as well as the

Faced with worsening structural conditions at Fire Station No. 5 on West Branch Crossing Drive, The Woodlands Fire Department has con- ducted a construction analysis of the building this year so it can be repaired and rendered suitable for a second company to locate at the facility, Fire Chief Palmer Buck said. Built in 2003, the station serves Carlton Woods, Indian Springs and Sterling Ridge in the western portions of the township. It houses one re company and one medic unit, but the original plan was to house two re companies, according to information from the township. Since some of the space is now occupied by a medic unit, the facility will need an expansion to allow for construction of sleeping quarters for a second company, Chief Buck said. “When we built the station, it was built in size to hold two re compa- nies and so sometime after we opened …Montgomery County Hospital District asked to put an ambulance in,” Buck said. “So they’ve been running out of there for a few years … but still would like to have a second company in there.” However, the building has been an issue since 2009 due to structural movement, Buck said. The movement could be due to faultlines in the township, he said. A 2009 building engineering study by Terracon Consul- tants examined some of these issues, and a second study conducted in 2019 identied new as well as previously unidentied issues, Buck said. The township budgeted $120,000 for a construction analysis of Stations 3, 4 and 5 as well as the Emergency Training Center in its 2020 budget, and the results of that study will likely be shared with township ocials in late October, Buck said. The study has been completed, but the township’s new general manager and president, Je Jones, who took over Sept. 1 from Don Norrell, needed additional time to familiarize himself with the history and details of the projects before it is presented, Buck said. The total cost of facility improvements at the various

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The Woodlands Fire Department has completed a study that will help determine construction costs for building and personnel needs at several facilities. DEPARTMENT NEEDS

713-224-3426 1403 Spring Cypress Rd Spring

The Woodlands Emergency Training Center

• Refurbishing needed The Woodlands Fire Department Station 4

1488

• Refurbishing needed

242

2978

BAY BRANCH DR.

W. BRANCH CROSSING DR.

KUYKENDAHL RD.

The Woodlands Fire Department Station 5 • Building issues caused by structural movement • Expansion needed for additional response unit consisting of:

45

GROGANS MILLS RD.

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• Refurbishing needed The Woodlands Fire Department Station 3

$100K gear and equipment INITIAL COST 15 personnel

$1.8M annual cost $975K re engine ONETIME COST

SAWDUST RD.

N

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Fire department budget scal year 2021* FY 2020 FY 2021 $25.83M $25.6M

Approximate $237,000 increase due to salaries and benets

*THE FISCAL YEAR RUNS FROM JANUARYDECEMBER.

SOURCE: THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIPCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

23

THE WOODLANDS EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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