Plans were unveiled last week for a proposed fire-police station for Alta which would also include a fitness center for the community to community to use free of charge.
"We're going through a growing spurt," said Fire chief Gary "Mo" Molgaard at the public meeting, but happy to have the problem.
The department has looked at refurbishing the old creamery for a larger building site but have discovered that the costs are more than can be afforded. Fundraisers have been held to put money into an account for the project. Through brainstorming, a new idea developed - building a new facility on city-owned property on the corner of Lake and Second Streets and selling the creamery property with those funds to go towards the proposed new structure.
It was decided to invite the police to have a home at the new structure to make it a public safety building. The fitness center idea, it was agreed, would not only benefit the firefighters and the police, to keep them safe, but the entire community.
Earlier discussions with Ron Speckmann of FEA Associates Inc., an architect firm from Sioux City, brought about a floor plan. Speckmann drew up four different "schemes" using the floor plan, positioning the building in different directions on the lot, for those in attendance to exam. No decisions were made on which "scheme" would be the best.
Molgaard said the proposed building would be 166' x 66'. The current fire station is 40' x 90'; the fire department would be utilizing about 75 percent of the structure. There would be room for the five trucks, office space, a storage area, kitchen, restrooms and a shower.
"We have run out of room," said Molgaard, "with the size of the equipment anymore."
The additional space would very much be appreciated.
Included in the plans for the fire department is a large training room. Monthly meetings include training on different aspects to keep the fire fighters up to snuff on all the best techniques.
"It is shown that if you train them and give them good training instead of bringing them in to sit around and kick the tires of the fire trucks, that they will stay forever," Molgaard said.
Alta has been fortunate to have a dedicated crew, many that have over 20 years of time put in and younger members who are willing to work hard to keep their department one of the best there is.
In their talks, the fitness center is being proposed to be about 14' x 50' and would be open to the community at no charge. This area would be isolated from the fire department/police departments so that users would not have to interrupt business there.
"We feel this would be a great way to keep everyone healthy," said Molgaard, who added that heart attacks among is the leading cause of death among firefighters.
The Alta police would be located in a section about 20' x 40' and include an interrogation room, evidence room and storage area.
"I think this is a great idea to utilize shared space," said Alta Police Chief Mike McDonald, of the proposed building. He added that courts are now requiring that all interrogations to be recorded; more space than what the police currently have to use in their city hall location.
Grants are currently being looked for to help in the funding of the proposed building. Donations are always accepted.
"We've always had great support from the people of Alta," Molgaard said. "The citizens are great to us but on we've also taken good care of them, too."
A new facility would allow even better things to occur.
"I'm confident this thing will fly," Molgaard concluded. He would like to see construction begin in the spring. No dollar figures were revealed. Additional public meetings will be held.