CARLSBAD — Over 50 years ago, the city built its second fire station.
And during its April 21 meeting, the Carlsbad City Council approved preliminary plans for Fire Station No. 2. The project calls for the station to be rebuilt on the existing site at the intersection of El Camino Real and Arenal Road adjacent to the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.
The new station was approved when Measure O was passed in 2016 allowing General Fund money to be used for the construction of a new fire station. City code dictates the city cannot spend more than $1 million of General Fund money to purchase or improve city-owned property without voter approval.
The current station, according to Carlsbad Fire Chief Mike Calderwood, is not up to code, was built to house one volunteer firefighter and cannot house equipment properly.
“The engine bays are too short for modern-day fire engines,” Calderwood said. “They are both short in height and length. It doesn’t meet some of today’s codes and standards. It will be large enough to house modern-day apparatus.”
The new station will be a two-story building and construction is expected to begin next year. During construction, the station will be temporarily housed at the Dove Library, Calderwood said, noting it was the only location to keep response times similar to the current location.
The station was built in 1969 for one firefighter and 250 service calls. Now, the station has five full-time firefighters and receives about 6,500 calls per year, he said.
The new station will consist of enlarged bays and will prevent equipment from exposure to carcinogens and meet current state building codes. The cost is projected at $12,062,862.
Steve Stewart, the city’s facilities engineering manager, said the timeline may be pushed back one month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said the project is expected to break ground in June 2021 and be completed by July 2022.
Before construction begins, the city will also remove asbestos and fumigate the old facility, Stewart said.
“I am hoping to get a design-builder on board to complete the design by late October or November,” he added.
Stewart said that the asbestos and abatement must be done because the station has such a small footprint and is adjacent to homes. Additionally, he said, construction will require modifications to the intersection so crews can work safely.
Stewart said the station bays will exit onto El Camino Real and use Arenal Road as an entrance once firefighters are done with a call. He said the purpose is to increase safety, noting traffic will stop due to the signal at the intersection to allow the engines safe access to the road.