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4 for ’14 | New combined home for Bainbridge fire, police?

    - Janine Courtemanche | Bainbridge Island Fire Department
— image credit: Janine Courtemanche | Bainbridge Island Fire Department

The long-discussed plan to combine the Bainbridge Island fire and police department facilities into one building is entering into advanced planning stages. The fire department and the city of Bainbridge Island accepted development plans for several weeks earlier this year, and are now beginning the process of selecting a development firm.

Four submittals were received: Mackenzie, Rice Fergus Miller, TCA and Coates Design.

“We were very pleased with all of them,” said Bainbridge Island Fire Chief Hank Teran.

“The next phase is to do the interviews, which will be done by the fire district and the city,” he said.

Those interviews are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Teran said he expects the selection process to be finalized early this year.

“After that point [the interviews], the decision will be made on which firm to go with,” Teran explained. “That should be determined no later than February.”

The selected firm will complete a variety of tasks while examining the workings of the two organizations.

These tasks include:

Assessing the current programs at all three fire stations and the city’s police department, as well as assessing the feasibility of a joint public safety building for Station 21 and the police department. The firm will also be assessing the role of technology and operational needs, examining the physical arrangement and conditions of the fire and police departments, developing schematic designs and making recommendations for a future location.

“We’re very excited about the possibilities,” Teran said. “The important thing to remember is that the public shared facility is part of an overall study the fire district is doing.”

This overall plan includes possible changes to the staffing of the individual fire houses.

Benefits of a shared protective services building include splitting the facility maintenance cost between two departmental budgets, as well as many possible areas of consolidation such as individual repair and maintenance issues and a possible shared administrative staff, Teran explained.

“You also have to keep in mind that the city is in need of an emergency operation center,” Teran said, explaining that a central command center that already contained both fire and police leadership would be ideal in the event of an emergency situation on the island.

“We’re all excited about it,” he said.

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