SCHERTZ — The city is moving forward with plans for a new fire station in the southern reaches to keep pace with booming growth, officials said.
City planners recently completed the design plans for Fire Station 3, which will be located at Lower Seguin Road and Hollering Vine Street by The Crossvine, a master-planned community.
“The design plans are finalized and it’s been turned over to BRW (Brown Reynolds Watford) Architects,” said Fire Chief Kade Long. “The new station will be in the range of 13,000 to 14,000 square feet.”
The Fire Station 3 project was part of a voter-approved bond election in 2015. Residents approved $4 million in funding to construct a new, permanent firehouse, with projections indicating response times could be cut by 66 percent to the area.
Final cost estimates for the firehouse have not been wrapped up, said Public Affairs Director Linda Klepper.
In December 2017, Schertz officials purchased 5.3 acres for the new fire station from Schertz 1518 Ltd., a company — owned by developer Christopher Price — that is also behind The Crossvine.
The total sale price for the land was $571,391.54, according to city officials. Once completed, the new station will be located in the 504-acre subdivision.
The station will house seven employees and one fire engine. BRW Architects Inc.’s design plans include two offices, an alarm room and a conference room accessible from the lobby. Schematics also show a dayroom, kitchen and dining room that opens onto a covered patio.
There will be eight private sleeping rooms.
The city’s third station could also feature airlocks to create a buffer zone that keeps harmful contaminants from the engine bays out of the living quarters. An EMS decontamination room and individual shower room would be located off the engine bay, allowing staff to remove impurities from their bodies and equipment prior to entering the station.
Plans also show a 560-square-foot fitness room that opens out onto a 380-square-foot covered and screened outdoor exercise area, as well as a 50-person community room.
The Fire Department has 45 members and two fire stations — Fire Station 1 is located at 1400 Schertz Parkway and Fire Station 2 is located at 19085 Interstate 35 North.
Long said The Crossvine community was part of the planning process and helped with the design of the third fire-response facility.
“One of the goals we had was working with the architects to create features that fit The Crossvine neighborhood and the houses there,” Long said. “The new station will feature the same type of stonework as the neighborhood.”
According to the designer’s website, “(BRW Architects Inc.) worked with input from the developer of The Crossvine community to create a fire station that would complement the neighborhood’s goals of healthy living and neighborly engagement.”
Over the last decade, Schertz has experienced tremendous growth along its southern edge, the areas generally bounded by Interstate 10 East, Cibolo Creek, FM 78 and the western boundary of the city. Development has been primarily residential, with projects such as Laura Heights, Hunter Estates, Ivy Estates, the Reserve at Schertz, The Crossvine, Willow Grove and Rhine Valley. Two schools are also in the area, including Corbett Junior High School and the Washington Tyrannus School of the Arts charter school.
“We have a lot of development in the southern part of Schertz, but we also have the Homestead development along I-35 in the northern part of the city,” Klepper said. “The I-35 corridor is one of the most rapidly growing areas in the country and Schertz lies right along I-35. The last five to 10 years have really boomed.”
City officials have said the rapid expansion has significantly altered the character of the area and created a need for additional infrastructure, including fire protection, sewer service, improved road networks, police coverage, water service and drainage.
The primary concern in the southern part of the municipality has been a lack of fire protection. The Fire Department has indicated the average response time for an engine from Station 1 to Laura Heights is about 20 minutes For Sedona, it is about 12 minutes.
This has led to Schertz having to rely on its neighbor city of Converse to supplement the local fire protection, according to city documents.
On April 30, Schertz opened a temporary fire unit to serve the southern area of the city, located at the Cibolo Creek Municipal Authority property on Trainer Hale Road.
“We recognize the need to have a Fire Department presence in southern Schertz sooner than later, and the temporary station is a (transitory) solution while we await the completion of Fire Station 3,” Long said.