Fire and paramedic protection are one step closer to coming to west Napa, including Browns Valley, after the Napa City Council unanimously approved a $600,000 architecture and engineering contract with an Oakland-based design firm Tuesday afternoon.
Shah Kawasaki Architects, Inc. beat out nine other firms to win design rights to the Napa Fire Department’s 6,000-square-foot Station No. 5, which will be built on a half-acre parcel at the corner of Browns Valley Road and Laurel Street.
The Napa City Council agreed that the Oakland firm was the most qualified of the 10 that applied, but expressed a wish to have more local labor involved in the almost $3.25 million project.
“It’s a message that I will keep trying to get out there anytime we spend money,” said Councilman Scott Sedgley. “I’m always hoping for local contractors and I’ll keep bringing it up.”
Napa Public Works Director Jacques LaRochelle said that the Shah Kawasaki firm was simply the most qualified to design the station and pointed out that the company is currently building several other fire stations in larger North Bay cities. He added that the contract utilizes several nearby firms for civil and survey work and landscape architecture.
“We wanted to emphasize local participation,” LaRochelle said. “But of the three final firms we interviewed, we felt Shah was the most qualified.”
The city also met with RRM Design Group of Paso Robles and Glass Architects of Santa Rosa.
Councilwoman Juliana Inman, who is a licensed architect, said that two firms involved in winning bid — ZFA Structural Engineer, which will conduct structural engineering, and RGH Associates, which will be responsible for geotechnical engineering — are “basically local.”
“Some of the sub-consultants I know and have worked with,” she said. “A couple of them have had project offices in Napa on occasion. So I think of them as local because they do work here all the time.”
The long-planned Browns Valley station is meant to provide faster emergency services to the city population north and south of First Street and Browns Valley Road, west of Highway 29. Currently, this area is served by the downtown station on Seminary Street.
The city bought the property for Station No. 5 some years ago, but didn’t have the money for construction during the Great Recession. City finances have been rebounding the last two years.
While initially estimated to cost upwards of $6 million, the city reduced the cost of Station No. 5 by using a combination of outside contractors and city public works employees.
The new station at 3001 Browns Valley Road will include design aspects that are consistent with the surrounding neighborhood, with sloped rooftops, a sustainable and energy-efficient design and a minimum life of 50 years, according to city staff.
The property will require a conditional use permit to change its zoning from multi-family residential to public use, but can be changed back at a later date should the station no longer be necessary.
Design of the new fire station is slated to be finished in July. The project, including construction, is expected to take approximately 34 months to complete, meaning the station could open in 2016.