County moves forward on emergency dormitory

Commissioners unanimously approve $300,000 for construction of Satsuma Fire Station facility

Putnam County Commissioners approved more than $300,000 for the construction of an emergency dormitory for the Satsuma Fire Station. 

During Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board voted unanimously to green light building the facility, which would also house a nearby emergency medical services unit. 

Putnam County Emergency Services requested $302,250 for the building at the Satsuma station, which has paid personnel and volunteer firefighters. 

The board previously decided to put more paid firefighters in numerous volunteer stations, including Satsuma, but Chief of Emergency Operations and Preparedness Quin Romay said the new structure is not meant to replace current services. 

“This is not changing what we’re doing,” Romay said. “This is augmenting … and helping to enhance the service to ensure we have adequate staff and the volunteers have the assistance they need.”

Romay and architect Robert Taylor, president of A.I.A. Architect, provided commissioners with detail about the new structure and its purposes. 

The new dormitory will be separate from the Satsuma’s station current building, and it will consist of sleeping and showering facilities and office space, Taylor said.

He said the new building will be made with steel studs and made to resist high winds. There will also be an emergency generator, he said, which makes it ideal for its intended purpose as an emergency facility. 

“It’s designed to be an emergency or essential services facility, which is a higher resistance construction,” Taylor said. “It’s within 10 feet of the existing facility. That will make it readily accessible to the firemen. So if they’re asleep when they have an emergency, they can jump up and run to the vehicle bay and access their vehicles and head out.”

County Administrator Rick Leary said Satsuma EMS workers would also use the dormitory because their current facility is growing increasingly substandard. 

“This facility is also going to house the EMS unit that is in very close proximity to the volunteer fire department building,” Leary said. “The EMS unit is currently in a deteriorating structure that will be removed from that location once this facility is completed. And the EMS unit personnel will be housed in this dormitory as well.”

According to county documents, the start date for the project won’t be announced until a notice to proceed is drafted, but the project is not to extend 120 days from the start of the project. 

Taylor said he didn’t foresee the project exceeding the current cost.

Commissioner Karl Flagg, who requested the item be discussed rather than simply approved in the consent agenda, said the new facility would help Satsuma emergency officials better carry out their duties. 

And despite the dormitory being located in Satsuma, it will benefit the county as a whole, despite opinions to the contrary, he said. 

“Sometimes, when we’re talking about where a service is based, individuals are not really aware of how it does impact and enhance the overall quality of service throughout the county,” Flagg said. 

And A.I.A. being based in Palatka, Commissioner Larry Harvey said, is another reason to be thrilled about the project. 

“I like the fact that we’re using local contractors from Putnam County,” he said. “That was a real plus for me.”

Palatka Daily News

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