The Coast News Group
Carlsbad’s proposed Fire Station 3 was designed by WLC Architects, Inc. to mimic the design of the neighboring Robertson Ranch housing development. Image courtesy of WLC Architects, Inc.

$5 million fire station proposed to replace inadequate station

CARLSBAD — The city is in the midst of final approval stages to build a $5 million fire station for northwest Carlsbad to replace its 36-year-old fire station 3. 

More than twice the size of the current station, the new station would enable fire fighters to reduce response times and be large enough to fit a number of the department’s fire apparatuses, according to Carlsbad Fire Chief Mike Lopez who helped design the new facility.

Fire station 3 is “hardly functional” because it is too small and does not meet the needs of the community, said project planner Barbara Kennedy.

The proposed 10,863 square-foot station would be built on a 2-acre site at the intersection of Cannon Road and Wind Trail Way.

Established in 1976, station 3 is a house with an attached garage at 3701 Catalina Drive and is only 4,000 square-feet, according to Lopez. The station is staffed by a captain, an engineer, and three firefighters/paramedics, and serves the northwest area of the city, which includes Carlsbad High School, state Route 78 and Interstate 5.

The new station’s latest design includes eight dormitories, kitchen, and dining room, work out room, bathrooms and showers. The station will also include a hose drying tower and an apparatus bay that will be able to house a 63-foot aerial ladder truck.

By keeping the hoses on site, fire fighters will be able to cut down on their response time to fire incidents. Currently, fire fighters at the station must travel back and forth to station 5 to dry and retrieve their hoses, said Lopez.

Fire station 3 houses a fire engine, a wildland engine and an ambulance. The station is replacing its ambulance, and the new ambulance will not be able to fit in the original station’s garage, said Lopez.

The city is working on the final construction designs for the station before submitting the plans for bids from contractors and final approval from the City Council, said Patrick McGarry, Carlsbad’s civic projects manager.

The city’s Planning Commission unanimously approved two resolutions needed for construction of the fire station during a public hearing on Nov. 21.

If the design receives the necessary approval, construction on the facility is anticipated to start in late spring of next year and would open sometime in 2014, said McGarry.

The $5 million budget for the station does not include the cost of the land, and will be paid for by fees collected from developers in recent years, not the city’s general fund, said McGarry.