Waverly unveils designs for a new, joint city/volunteer fire building
dWAVERLY, Neb. (KOLN) - The City of Waverly and it’s volunteer fire department are ready to upgrade their current facilities.
On Monday, November 21st, officials unveiled an early design concept for a new building, right across the street from Waverly High School near Amberly and Cannongate Roads. It would house both city offices and Waverly Volunteer Fire & Rescue.
Mayor Bill Gerdes tells 10/11 NOW one of the goals is to modernize and enlarge both the city and the volunteer fire department. Waverly Fire would also be in a location, which would help with their response times.
“We’ve done considerable revisions during this initial concept,” Gerdes said. “I think the floor plans that we’ve got right now are probably as good as their going to get; everybody seems happy with them to this point in time.”
Currently, both the city office and the volunteer fire station are not only too small and restrictive, but they’re also outdated and in need of significant upgrades. The city adds that it’s not realistically possible to upgrade the buildings they’re in right now.
On top of that, Gerdes says the city’s growth is also a factor in the need to upgrade.
“In the last ten years we’ve grown substantially,” he sid. “We added a thousand people to our population.”
Fire Chief Jared Rains has also witnessed the growth himself.
“I’ve been around here since 2006 and the amount of land that’s been taken up and houses built has been crazy,” he told 10/11.
As for the initial design concept, Rains says he’s fairly pleased with it.
“There’s little things that we’d like to tweak,” he said. “It’s not really anything negative, it’s just little things that we have to think about if that’s how this plan goes forward.”
There are some questions that remain, one of which is what would happen to the current buildings the city and volunteer fire department own and operate. Another question is how the city and fire department can coexist with their operations taking place at the same time during the day, primarily in the event that first responders have to be at a call for service. A subset of that question is available parking for both city employees, first responders, and residents.
For now, one of the biggest things Rains says he’s pleased with is the contrast between the proposed building and their current one.
“I hope the one thing that people look at and the one thing I’m excited for is the amount of space; the amount we’re able to grow,” he said. “I don’t have to stick something outside to be able to train inside and then have to tear it all down and move it back in. It just allows me to spread out and bring in adequate training.”
As for what’s next, following Monday’s meeting and unveiling, the city says they’re still working all of that out. Right now, the proposed structure has an estimated cost at roughly $11 million. Gerdes says that ways to pay for the new building are still being discussed and worked through.
“We have a Waverly Fire Board to consider, too, because most of the vehicles that go into the fire station belong to them,” he said.
Waverly Fire is unique in that it’s one of the few joint city and rural departments in the state. The city says that they’re hoping for the fire board to be willing to partner up to make the project happen. Once funding is figured out, the designs will then go through a final round of engineering, followed by bidding and then the start of construction.
For now, Rains says he’s please to see a process, one the Gerdes says has been in the making for nearly 10 years, finally get moved forward.
“It’s a step,” Rains said. “There was the first step of talking about a station and now we got the drawings of the station and now people have met, so now we’re on to the next step of what that is; if that’s changing things up or figuring out how to come up and pay for it; I’m just excited that we got to this step and we’re just going to continue on with the next.”
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