Report: Woodlands' Fire Station No. 5 due for major overhaul or new site; department needs could run $13M-$14M

The Woodlands Township board of directors heard the results of a study on several township fire stations at its Oct. 22 meeting. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
The Woodlands Township board of directors heard the results of a study on several township fire stations at its Oct. 22 meeting. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

The Woodlands Township board of directors heard the results of a study on several township fire stations at its Oct. 22 meeting. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

The Woodlands Township could be looking at around $14 million in renovations to three of its fire stations and to its emergency training center, according to a report presented at the board of directors' Oct. 22 regular meeting. This is in line with previous estimates for the projects.

The study was commissioned with money from the 2020 budget, Fire Chief Palmer Buck said. Buck previously stated the cost of the study was about $120,000.

The main variable for the end costs will be whether the township elects to renovate Station No. 5, which has significant structural issues, or to rebuild it at another site—an option that Martinez Architects, the firm conducting the study, said would only cost about 10% more than a renovation. Issues at Station No. 5 include inadequate soils that would need to be removed and replaced as well as the need to replace the slab under the building.

The needs at the other facilities were less dire, but recommendations and observations in the report include the following.

Station No. 3 (Sawdust Road)


The structure is not compromised, though some water-related issues were identified. The study recommends repairs to the air conditioning system, replacing the exterior electrical equipment as well as upgrading the fire alarm. It also recommends replacing existing plumbing fixtures and piping; updating the hot water system; and installing a fire sprinkler line and system.

Station No. 4 (Bay Branch Drive)

This structure is also not compromised, and there is normal cracking in the slab. Recommendations include replacing the existing air conditioning system as well as exterior electrical equipment; upgrading the fire alarm; and performing the same replacements to plumbing fixtures, piping, hot water systems and fire sprinklers as were recommended for Station No. 3.

Emergency Training Center (I-45 South)

Recommendations include considering a vehicle exhaust system for the apparatus bay, upgrading the fire alarm system, replacing the hot water system and relocating the building water entry.

Station No. 5 (Branch Crossing Drive)

Significant issues at the building necessitate more extensive renovations due to issues with the foundation, cracking with the slab and soils that were inadequately comprised and compacted. Otherwise, the facility is in need of repairs and replacements similar to those in the other stations.

All of the structures are about 25 years old.

If all four projects are performed, but Station No. 5 is renovated rather than rebuilt, the total cost is estimated at $13.76 million, assuming all projects are performed concurrently under a single contract. If Station No. 5 is rebuilt at another location, the total cost would be $14.7 million, according to the study.

"It's not going to happen immediately, but I agree—there needs to be a sense of urgency on that particular station," Board Vice Chair Bruce Rieser said of Station No. 5.

Buck said the department could continue operating out of Station No. 5 in the meantime.

"We're not in imminent danger of it falling down, but we also know it's not going to get any better," Buck said.

After a brief discussion, the board determined that its budget task force will look at recommendations for financing the project.

"You guys find money, and we'll go work on negotiations," Board Chair Gordy Bunch said at the end of the presentation.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


MOST RECENT

Montgomery County COVID-19 updates
Active COVID-19 cases double in Montgomery County since Nov. 17

Since Monday, active cases countywide have risen 13.1%, while four more deaths have been reported.

A project to widen Gosling Road across Spring Creek will go out to bid in early 2021. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
2 road projects to watch in The Woodlands area: FM 2978, Gosling Road bridge

Here's the latest on progress with construction on FM 2978, and when to expect road work on Gosling Road bridge.

(Courtesy Howard Hughes Corp.)
The Lane at Waterway announces mid-December opening

The new multifamily project offers 163 new residences in apartments and townhomes.

Doug Hooten was announced as the first executive director of Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 on Dec. 3. (Courtesy Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 hires first executive director

Doug Hooten has 35 years of experience in EMS, according to a Dec. 3 press release.

Baja Sur opened Dec. 1 in Creekside Park West. (Courtesy Baja Sur)
Baja Sur serves up fresh Tex-Mex cuisine in Creekside Park West

Baja Sur opened Dec. 1 in Creekside Park West.

The Woodlands Township board of directors met at the township building Dec. 2. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
COVID-19 patients in more than 15% of Montgomery County hospital beds; free testing seeing demand in The Woodlands

The percentage of COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds in Montgomery County was more than 15% in early December.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Dec. 2 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allotted 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the state of Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First allotment of COVID-19 vaccinations expected to arrive in Texas in mid-December

About 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been allotted to the state of Texas and will arrive the week of Dec. 14.

The East Montgomery County Industrial Park off Gene Campbell Road will welcome the Lowe's Distribution Center in July. (Courtesy East Montgomery County Improvement District)
Lowe's to bring 200 jobs to Montgomery County and more Houston-area news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Harris County has launched a tool to allow homeowners to identify appraisal activity in their neighborhood. (Courtesy Pexels)
Harris County Appraisal District launches new 'Appraiser Field Operations Map' tool

Harris County has launched a tool to allow homeowners to identify appraisal activity in their neighborhood.

A new coronavirus testing site is coming to The Woodlands on Dec. 14. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Second free mobile coronavirus testing clinic coming to The Woodlands on Dec. 14

The free clinic from Curative will be available until Jan. 31, 2021.

The letter came a week after Longoria was virtually sworn into the office by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Nov. 18. (Screenshot via Zoom)
Harris County scrambles to make creation of Elections Administrator Office lawful after Attorney General's letter identifies deficiencies

Harris County is working to make right the appointment of Isabel Longoria as the county's first-ever elections administrator after County Attorney Vince Ryan received a letter Nov. 25 from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stating that the county did not follow the proper appointment process.