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Council, fire officials talk about planned hall

By Staff | Jan 6, 2010

Rugby Fire Department members came before the Rugby City Council last week seeking direction as to how to proceed with the department’s planned fire hall.

The council’s advice: meet with an architect.

And that’s what the department’s fire hall building committee will do in the coming weeks to begin the process of formally designing a new hall.

Up to this point, the department has only had informal discussions with an architect, according to Dave Schneibel Jr., building committee member.

City officials said the department should be able to meet with an architect prior to entering a formal contract. Another direction the department can go is to request written proposals from a number of firms to design a hall.

It’s estimated a new hall would cost upwards of $500,000, and the department has set aside several thousand dollars toward the hall through fundraisers, however, more funds is needed. The department has applied for a FEMA grant and plans to apply for others, including a Community Development Block grant through the Souris Basin Planning Council.

City officials stressed that getting formal plans and specifications are needed when planning a public-owned facility. The department has a good number of design ideas, but it needs to have them drafted with an architect.

Just where a fire hall would be constructed remains unresolved. Schneibel said discussions last summer with Mike Kuntz, architect with ICON of Grand Forks, indicated that firm will design a hall, but won’t get involved in selecting a site for one. City officials said there are other firms that will assist in developing a suitable location.

Schneibel said the department wants to keep it south of the railroad tracks, since 90 percent of the firefighters reside on that side, thus reducing the time to arrive at the hall in responding to a fire.

The location which appeared ideal was west of M.J. McGuire’s along N.D. Highway 3 on city-owned property. However, soil testing revealed the ground is unstable and not suited for construction. Another site looked into was the south end of the park district’s Southside Park along N.D. Highway 3, but that received only mixed support from the park board and many residents voiced concerns about a hall constructed near the park.

Schneibel said the department will report back to the council in the coming weeks once it has met with an architect.

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