EDWARDSVILLE - Wanted: Architects to design two new firehouses for Edwardsville.
The project to expand Edwardsville's public safety department continues with the city's request for qualifications from architects to design its buildings.
The city council approved a quarter-cent sales tax increase in March to fund a police and fire station for downtown, and construction of a satellite station on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Fire Chief Rick Welle said they have already mailed out requests for bid packages to architects who have expressed interest in the $15 million project, and have publicly posted the specifics for any other firms that might be interested.
Welle said city officials would then narrow the list to a few possible vendors and negotate a contract by the end of August.
The original needs assessment survey was done by AAIC Inc. of Collinsville, which evaluated the options for Edwardsville's fire protection service and recommended several options, including the three-station plan that the council chose.
The former city hall that houses the police and fire departments has leaking pipes, an outdated boiler and electrical system and insufficient infrastructure for computer technology. The fire department has no sprinkler system.
The plan is to construct a fire and police headquarters a few blocks from the current station on Main Street, on the site of the former Madison County Shelter Care Home. The city arranged to purchase the property from Madison County in April for $750,000.
The university has already set aside space for the satellite station, which officials said is necessary due to patterns of population growth and the increasing response times to SIUE and the Gateway Commerce Center on the west side of town.
The SIUE station will be located near the central campus, between the water tower and the Early Childhood Center, Welle said.
"We met with the university last week and we're working on the final plat," Welle said.
However, it is unlikely that the fire station will be part of SIUE's educational missions in the near future, as the university does not have a fire science program, he said.
But one part that is partially on hold: renovations of the existing Montclaire satellite station. The Montclaire station will get some needed repairs, but Welle said they are holding off on a full renovation of the aging station as they evaluate growth patterns on the east side.
"Before we commit a whole lot of money to that station, we want to wait and see (what development takes place)," he said. "We don't have anything concrete, but the infrastructure is in place for growth along Governor's Parkway."
If the east side of town develops much more, moving the Montclaire station may be necessary instead of renovation, Welle said.
The project as planned is expected to cost about $15 million.