Dowagiac city council approves construction manager for new fire station

Published 5:24 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

DOWAGIAC —  A new fire station is on the horizon for the City of Dowagiac.

The Dowagiac City Council recently approved an agreement with Frederick Construction to serve as Construction Manager for the Fire Station and Department of Public Service projects.

Proposals were sought and seven firms expressed interest in serving in this capacity. Interviews were held with two firms and Frederick Construction was hired to provide these services. The firm was the most competitive price of those firms seeking the contract, with a total cost of $597,420.

According to City Manager Kevin Anderson, city staff has been working with the architect on the proposed Fire Station and Department of Public Services facility and preliminary building concepts are at a point that strong, professional cost estimating needs to be done. 

Frederick Construction will review architectural concepts and provide detailed recommendations on construction materials and cost of materials and labor. 

“The facility we currently have has served the community well for a period of time but there are some improvements I think we can make to help our firemen continue to be some of the best in the area,” Anderson said.

Director of Public Safety Steve Grinnewald said the fire department relocated to its current building, a rehabbed city-owned building located at 302 Wolf St., approximately 12 years ago. While the renovated building was able to serve its purpose, the city has always thought of the building as a temporary location until it could fund a bonafide fire station.

“It’s a nice building, but it’s an old building. It’s not really set up for a fire department,” Grinnewald said. “We can function there, we can certainly operate, there’s plenty of room but it, you know, you could fit your needs a little bit better when it comes to training; there’s only one bathroom. When you start getting into having it as a municipal building to use, we could do a little better.”

While still in the planning phase, the city is eying the industrial park as the location for its new fire department.

“We looked at what our response times would be. We can get to any space in the city in about 3.5 minutes from that location,” Anderson said. “We can avoid some railroad tracks in getting to certain locations around the city.”

Fire Chief Anthony Stewart said the fire station project has provided his team of firefighters with a boost of morale.

“Everybody is very excited about it,” Stewart said. “We’ve never had a new fire station purpose built specifically like this, so this is going to be nice. This is really going to assist in furthering our training capabilities and we’re going to streamline the process. We’ll be a lot more efficient having a purpose-built fire station.”