New fire station to include outdoor relaxation

City of Burnsville graphic

A “placemaking” area for the public to use is part of the plan for the new Burnsville Fire Station 1 now under construction. Firefighters will be asked to choose from betweeen three designs. This one includes a decorative fire hydrant sculpture with a push-button mist feature.

‘Placemaking’ area part of Station 1 design

Designers of the new Burnsville fire station under construction say the building will be a model for firefighter wellness, with features that reduce occupation-related cancer risks and promote cardiac and mental health.

The $18.6 million project will include a mental health component the public can enjoy, too.

An outdoor “placemaking” area with bench seating, public art, plantings and lighting was part of the plan from the start.

At their work session Tuesday, City Council members got a look at the designs thus far. They agreed to defer a choice among three options to a survey of the firefighters who will work and stay there.

The space is meant to be intimate, iconic, inviting and to tell a story, said Mitch Workmon from design firm ISG.

The design concept is based on firefighting, the fluidity of water and how firefighters harness it.

A decorative, perforated metal hose with internal lighting snakes around a curved plaza and seating area with semi-circle benches. In one plan, it connects to a 7-foot hydrant sculpture with a push-button mist feature.

A mural of a Dalmatian will grace the station’s retaining wall behind the plaza.

That plan is estimated at $77,220, on top of $22,700 already spent. Another option, which has a 12-foot ladder instead of a hydrant, is estimated at $72,820.

A third, combining both, is estimated at $112,750, which would exceed the $100,000 placemaking budget by $35,500.

Most council members preferred the hydrant plan, which is within budget, but all agreed to go with whichever of the three firefighters choose.

“I would prefer that the firefighters who are going to be there” pick the design, even though the project is primarily for public use, said Council Member Cara Schulz, who expressed no design preference.

“This gives the community a place to come and sit, and it also gives education for the children,” Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said. “If you come in and you don’t have children, it’s a place to just be there. It’s a very comfortable place.”

Ground was broken in September on the 42,000-square-foot station, which so far is about $1 million under budget, according to Deputy City Manager Gregg Lindberg. Electric and gas franchise fees paid by all Burnsville ratepayers are funding the project.

The station will replace the current Fire Station 1, one of two stations in Burnsville, which was built in 1975 as the police headquarters and has reached the end of its life.

The new station is south of County Road 42 at 143rd Street West and Newton Avenue, less than a mile and a half from the current station at 911 140th St. W. Construction is scheduled for completion next Oct. 1.

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