The Bethel Park Volunteer Fire Company (BPVFC) is holding a Groundbreaking Ceremony for its new station on Saturday Feb. 28, 2015 at 11 a.m. The event will be held at the Park Ave. side of the new building across from the School House Arts Center; however, the official address for the new facility is 5213 Brightwood Rd.
During the 30-minute ceremony, representatives from the BPVFC and Municipality along with other local officials will be making comments before breaking ground.
“This new station is going to help sustain our Bethel Park Volunteer Fire Company for many years to come so that they can focus on what they do best, fight fires, and not worry about facilities,” said Municipal Council President Timothy Moury.
Construction on the new 22,000 sq. ft. station is scheduled to begin on March 2 with an expected completion date of May 2016. The estimated building cost is $8.2 million.
The facility will feature five engine bays, an 80-person meeting room, full kitchen, training room, classroom, training tower, bunk rooms, gear rooms, offices, and a small museum area featuring photographs, trophies, older equipment, and more.
According to Edward Schmidt, BPVFC recording secretary and new building committee chairman, the station will be organized with operations on the first floor (such as the engine bays, equipment rooms, bunk and gear rooms) and public areas, meeting and training rooms, offices and other administrative areas along with the museum on the second floor which will face the Park Ave. side of the building.
The need for the new facility was evident through a study that was conducted determining that it was more cost effective to build a new building rather than renovate the over 60 year old station that had been in use.
“Equipment today is also much larger than when the original building was designed,” said Moury. “So it made sense to pursue a new building.”
Moury said that the BPVFC came to Council about six or seven years ago looking for help to fund a new facility.
“We put together a plan to support them through a referendum that the Fire Company placed on the ballot for the creation of a .34 mil fire tax to provide for maintenance and upkeep of the three fire stations,” said Moury. “Our residents passed it on a 2-1 margin and we want to truly thank them for their support of the Bethel Park Volunteer Fire Company.”
This also enabled the Municipality to secure a bond to build the fire station; the tax went into effect in 2014.
“The Municipality stepped up and helped us to accomplish our goal and wanted to provide first class emergency services to the residents and businesses in Bethel Park,” said Schmidt.
And, while the tax provides for the maintenance of the three stations (the other two are on Clifton Rd. and Milford Drive), the BPVFC still needs to fundraise for equipment costs including their fleet of 12 vehicles.
“We’re trying to stay on a five-year rotation plan with our vehicles,” said Schmidt. “However, the cost of vehicles has tremendously skyrocketed. Ten years ago it wasn’t unusual to buy a fire truck for $250-300,000; today, that same vehicle is $600,000 or more and that doesn’t include the equipment needed on the vehicle.”
Through this fire tax, the Municipality will now own all the fire stations.
“We broke it down to facilities and operations,” said Moury. “The tax is for the facilities and fundraising/donations are for the operations.”
The building architect is Pacheco Ross and the contractor is Tomlyn Construction.