Menlo Park: Contract awarded for new fire station

Groundbreaking expected before end of year, says fire chief

Plans to rebuild Menlo Park's downtown fire station at 700 Oak Grove Ave. just cleared another hurdle.

On Oct. 18, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District approved a contract for up to $7.5 million with Gonsalves and Stronck, a San Carlos-based construction company that has built three other fire stations in the fire district, according to Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

Demolition of the old station is expected to happen in the next couple of months, and groundbreaking on the new station could occur before the end of this year, he said.

Firefighters who work at the station have moved to a residential property the fire district owns behind the station, and will stay there during construction. The move should have a minimal impact on firefighting operations from that site, Chief Schapelhouman said.

The new station would be 7,857 square feet and two stories, with a separate 1,003-square-foot building designed as a museum to showcase old and antique firefighting trucks and apparatuses, according to previous Almanac reporting. Currently, those pieces are housed in Station 1 on Middlefield Road.

The Oak Grove station, known as Station 6, is now 64 years old. Plans to rebuild and expand the station have been underway since 2007, when the district decided to work toward expanding the station to accommodate more personnel and equipment. In 2008, the district bought the adjacent residential property, enabling it to build a two-story building, as currently planned, Chief Schapelhouman said in a press statement.

Then, during the recession, work halted, and afterward, efforts went toward rebuilding and expanding the now 12,000-square-foot East Palo Alto fire station, completed earlier in April 2016, he said. That firefighting company is the district's busiest. The company housed at the Oak Grove station is the second-busiest.

Considering an expected increase in development, population growth and roadway congestion in the area, he said, "It’s a no brainer to rebuild in this location."

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4 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 23, 2016 at 8:36 pm

So, rebuilding an old fire station that's too small and probably not seismically ready makes sense.

However, the museum seems excessive. The taxpayers in the fire district are paying for fire protection, not a museum. Let's chop the museum entirely, and return the cash to the taxpayers.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 24, 2016 at 11:39 am

Stations need to be rebuilt and upgraded. As our community changes so does the need for the FD's response and equipment.

Also, I think a museum is beneficial. Lots of people drop by the fire station; groups -- Boy Scouts, schools, civic organizations and more -- schedule tours to see fire engines and truck, both new and old. I'm sure one of the most regular question is where is the dalmatian?

I'm fine with the museum.

Like this comment
Posted by mp
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 24, 2016 at 1:18 pm

We may need to hire a study this...for at least a year...before we take the cost of at least $500-600k.

2 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:36 pm

In a community that relies on private donations to a foundation to ensure reasonable class sizes in our school, squandering tax dollars on a 'fire museum' is a travesty.

I am fine wth spending what we need to spend to ensure public safety. I am not fine with spending tax dollars in a completely unnecessary museum. I'm sure the boy scouts can check out the fire engine without a dedicated museum. If you really want a fire museum, it should be funded by private donations from people who care, not all of the taxpayers in the district.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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