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Broadwater County seeks letters of support for proposed emergency services facility

The Broadwater County Commission is seeking letters of support for a proposed emergency services facility on the east side of U.S. 287 in the Wheatland Targeted Economic Development District (TEDD) near Three Forks.

In a letter to county residents, the Commissioners said while they have saved a sizeable amount to help with the engineering and construction, the letters of support will assist with securing grant funding needed to complete the proposed facility on three donated acres in the TEDD.

“As Broadwater County grows, there is an undeniable need for greater presence and coverage of all EMS, fire, and law enforcement services, especially in the Wheatland area. The county commissioners are leading the effort to address these needs, however public involvement and participation will be the deciding factors of how these services are ultimately implemented,” states the letter.

The Commission has recently hosted two public meetings about the proposed facility that would house fire, ambulance, law enforcement, and search and rescue.

Scott Cromwell of Slate Architecture described the first public meeting in late May as a fact-finding mission. At a second meeting in September, he shared a detailed presentation about the proposed facility.

Cromwell said at the September meeting the facility is needed because of residential and commercial growth in the county’s southern end and concerns with emergency services.

In the presentation, Cromwell shared that the footprint of the proposed 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.

• 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 in September that they are seeking letters of support for the Preliminary Architecture Report (PAR) they can provide to the Montana Department of Commerce. He said the more support, the better chance the Montana Department of Commerce will help fund it.

Letters of support can be sent to the Commissioners by email to [email protected].

“We will continue discussion and community engagement regarding all aspects of the potential building and the ways to expand services there. At this time, your written support strengthens the efforts to bring this initial project to fruition,” states the letter sent to residents.