Construction work to begin in March on new firehouse

No. 3 firehouse will replace structure built back in 1957.


A March groundbreaking tentatively is planned for the construction of the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s new No. 3 firehouse on South Lindbergh Boulevard.

Board members last Friday discussed the construction of the new No. 3 firehouse with representatives of Archimages of Kirkwood. Archimages has provided architectural and engineering services to design the district’s new No. 2 firehouse on Telegraph Road in Oakville, which was completed in 2009, and the district’s new No. 4 firehouse on Tesson Ferry Road in Concord, which currently is under construction.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously July 28 to spend $571,000 to purchase the roughly one-acre site at 4811 S. Lindbergh Blvd. to relocate the district’s No. 3 firehouse.

The existing No. 3 firehouse, built in 1957 at 11625 Sappington Barracks Road, is deteriorating and needs to be replaced, according to board Chairman Aaron Hilmer.

The board purchased the property on South Lindbergh Boulevard across from the Lindbergh High School campus, from the Dominic and Margaret E. Intag Trust.

The new No. 2 firehouse at 5434 Telegraph Road is a one-story, energy-efficient building with 6,554 square feet of space and three engine bays. The new one-story, energy-efficient No. 4 firehouse at 13117 Tesson Ferry Road will be similar in design to the No. 2 firehouse, but will be larger with roughly 8,500 square feet of space with three engine bays.

As proposed, the new No. 3 firehouse will be similar in appearance to the No. 4 firehouse that’s under construction and the recently built No. 2 firehouse, but will include a training tower and walkout basement.

“One thing that’s going to be interesting about this firehouse is that while aesthetically we want to maintain the same look we have at 2 and 4, which is being built on Tesson Ferry, House 3 is going to be more of a walkout design,” Hilmer previously told the Call. “We’re anticipating some kind of training center on the back of it. So it will be a little more in price than the other firehouses. We anticipate a three-bay firehouse like the other ones, but also with a training center in the back of it.”

Regarding the training tower, Greg Garner of Archimages noted Friday that with the design his firm is proposing “you won’t see it that dramatically from the front from Lindbergh, which is good …”

Hilmer later asked Garner “… We talked about how we’re getting more square feet cheaper than say we did on House 2. What are you seeing with prices, say over the last few years? When did they peak? Did they peak in like ’06 or ’07 and have they tapered off some as far as price per foot, what stuff’s costing? Where do you see them at?”

Garner said, “… We have bottomed out with the good deals. Let’s put it that way. We’ve hit our low and materials are starting to climb back up and some of the labor rates, new negotiations are happening. So it’s not spiking, but it’s definitely starting to go back up … We’ve bottomed out, right. We’ve gotten our best deals.

“About the time we bid (House) 4 was a great time for us. I still think you’re going to get, compared to (House) 2, you’re still going to get a slightly better value … And the time of year that we’re starting is helping us out. I mean if we’re going to tell them they can break ground in March, that’s going to help also us as far as hitting in wintertime. And that’s usually a good time to bid. We’ll bid over the winter, consider the weather in February when there’s not much happening. So we take advantage of that in any market.”

Hilmer said, “So basically where the trend’s going considering where the interest rates are, say we hold off for building for two years, we’re going to earn nothing on our $1.8 million and it’s going to cost us more because of …”

Garner interjected, “Oh, there’s no doubt in two years you’ll be paying more …”

Board Secretary Ed Ryan later said, “… When we went from House 2 to House 4, the price increased by 10 percent, but we got 30 percent more square footage. We are going to have a bigger House 3. We’ve added training …”

Chief Tim White interjected, “I think the training is something that needs to be looked at because it’s something that the district has failed to do for its entire existence.”

Board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman said, “Well, I like too that we’re able to incorporate it into the house and so you don’t have another $300,000, $400,000 just for a training tower.”

White said, “… Actually, it’s more than that because if you look at an actual training facility … then you could be going anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million. I mean, obviously, you can make it as big as you want, but I’m just saying for the value and looking at the size of the district and addressing the needs of training that have been neglected since 1954, this is the first time that the issue’s being addressed …”