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Officials discuss proposed emergency responder facility

A Preliminary Architecture Report (PAR) for a proposed Emergency Services Facility in southern Broadwater County will soon be sent to the Montana Department of Commerce.

At a meeting last Wednesday at Bridger Brewing, Scott Cromwell of Slate Architecture discussed the facility, which would sit on two acres of donated land in the Wheatland Targeted Economic Development District on the east side of U.S. 287.

This was the second public meeting to discuss the issue, the first in late May, which Cromwell described as a fact-finding mission for the facility that would house the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue, Fire, Ambulance, and Emergency Response and Community Rooms.

When discussing why a facility is needed at last week’s meeting, Cromwell said it is because of residential and commercial growth in southern Broadwater County and concerns with emergency services.

In the presentation, Cromwell shared that the footprint of the building would be 16,320 square feet and a total of 16,800, including an upstairs addition. The proposed facility would also have room for a 2,800-square-foot expansion, including two pull-through bays and a new total of 19,200 square feet.

The proposed facility would include an apparatus bay for Search and Rescue, three pull-through bays for fire services, and two pull-through bays for ambulance services.

The Sheriff’s Office portion of the facility would include a patrol room, captain and sergeant offices, interview rooms, and an evidence hold.

The building would also provide ample storage for each entity, a wet/decontamination room, community room, emergency response room, custodial area, warming kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, computer room, and an upstairs apartment.

Regarding construction costs, Cromwell estimated it would be between $4.4 and $5.5 million, including all the site and earthwork.

Adding other costs, including design, survey, testing, and contingency, he estimated the total cost of the project would be between $5.4 to $6.8 million.

Estimated yearly costs for utilities would be $44,952 and $36,747 for maintenance, which Cromwell said is standard for a building this size.

Cromwell told those in attendance that they are seeking letters of support for the PAR they can provide to the Montana Department of Commerce. He said the more support, the better chance the MDOC will help fund it.

Cromwell said the budget is always a challenge, and this is a big building that has a good-sized cost on it.

After the PAR is submitted, Cromwell said the next steps would be to establish a timeline for design and construction, define additional funding avenues if not already in place, refine plans, and finish contract documents for construction, bidding/permitting with a general contractor/construction manager or a design/bid/build with lowest qualified contractor, and construction. He estimated it would probably take a year to build the facility.

Barbara Mutter of the Three Forks Area Ambulance Service discussed the importance of the proposed facility.

“We need to have faster response times to medical and trauma emergencies. With all the growth projected, this is needed. We have to go down this road. Development is not going to stop,” Mutter said.

Along with the facility, Mutter said that, hopefully, a decent water study can be completed to show where growth in the county’s southern end can happen.

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