Copper Mountain marks grand opening of its new fire station | SummitDaily.com

Copper Mountain marks grand opening of its new fire station

CAITLIN ROW
summit daily news

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Copper Mountain’s new fire department, the Metro District building, has it all – top-notch facilities, a training tower, a decontamination station, and even room to grow. And after opening in January, it’s servicing 136 square miles, with 73 of those directly under Copper’s responsibility.

“We serve from the top of Vail Pass to the top of Fremont Pass and to Officer’s Gulch, plus a mutual aid area. To serve that area, the existing station didn’t have capacity to house the equipment and manpower necessary,” said Dave Erickson, the district manager.

So, officials hit the drawing board early. Plans for a new Copper Mountain fire station began in the early 1990s, with negotiations beginning in earnest in 1999, Erickson said. A fire station needs analysis pointed out concerns that the existing facility was much too small, poorly designed and structurally deficient to handle snow loads.

“It simply could not meet the needs of the fire department as the resort grew into the future,” Erickson said.

Because the department had to build for the future, they wanted to complete it with all the bells and whistles.

“We did it right the first time,” said Tom Malmgren, a metro district board member.

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The new, 28,000-square-foot building isn’t just a fire department. It houses the cable TV offices, the managers and clerk treasurer’s office and the water/sanitation directors office. It also has the capacity for two other satellite offices – the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Summit County Ambulance Service.

“It was a community effort,” Malmgren said. “The need was strong. We really strove to create a building to be a statement for the community.”

The cost wasn’t anything to sniff at, but worth it, officials attested. The whole project was $9 million in total – $6.5 million for the building, $1.5 million on site improvements and $1 million on testing.

A bond issue was passed by taxpayers for the project, and it was also assisted by large donations.

Construction started in June 2008, and staff moved in at the beginning of this year.

Notable amenities at the new fire station and community building include an air compressor for breathing apparatus, an exercise room, lots of storage, a garage that can house eight engines, a built-in decontamination room, a high-rise training facility, a spacious area for fire department staff and a community room available for rental.

SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.