Boynton builds stylish, practical fire station

By Mike Clary
Staff Writer
Posted April 8 2005

When Boynton Beach's fourth fire station opens this spring, residents of the city's southeast section should see an improvement in firefighters' response time to alarm calls. Plus, they will get a preview of a Key West-inspired architectural style central to downtown redevelopment plans.

"We call it Florida vernacular," said architect Mike Flattery of the firm CH2M Hill, referring to the decorative cupolas, concrete board siding and light blue metal roof of the $1.9 million building on Federal Highway at Southeast 18th Avenue. "It should be a catalyst for that portion of the neighborhood and set standards for what is to come."

The neighborhood is a busy hodgepodge of offices, fast-food restaurants and shops. Next door to Station No. 4, scheduled to open in mid-May is an assisted living facility. A Miami Subs restaurant and a billiard parlor are across the street.

Under the city's long-term redevelopment plan, the long-neglected downtown and the marina would be transformed into a vibrant city center with a distinctive, unifying character.

The new fire station is a start, Flattery said. The building features three bays for firefighting equipment, quarters for eight firefighters on each of three shifts, and a 450-square-foot general purpose room that will be used primarily for department training sessions.

Station No. 4 will cut average response time to alarms in the southwest quadrant of the city from six minutes to four minutes, according to Deputy Fire Chief James Ness.

The construction cost comes from a seven-year tax assessment approved by the City Commission in 2001.

"It's been a long time coming," Ness said of the project. Originally scheduled to be completed by March, the fire station project was pushed back several weeks because of the September hurricanes and the difficulty of finding roofers, Flattery said.

O'Connor and Taylor Inc. is building the fire station to withstand hurricane winds up to 140 mph, and it will be equipped with an emergency generator, said David Stump, project manager for the city. "It's a fantastic building," he said.

Mike Clary can be reached at mwclary@sun-sentinel.com or 561-243-6629.