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Fire station would fit on new school site - Gillette News Record: News

Fire station would fit on new school site

But school officials hesitate to commit too early to space

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Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:00 am

Large maps of the piece of land expected to one day house a second high school or another junior high were posted on the bulletin board of the school district's board room earlier this week.

That led some people to speculate that the district was planning to build a new high school soon.

But that isn't the case. Instead, an administrator used the maps to show school trustees what the school site might look like if they agreed to a Campbell County request for 2 acres to build a fire station on the land near the Recreation Center.

Alex Ayers, the associate superintendent for instructional support, told trustees the three different rough conceptual plans were drawn up to see if there would be enough room at the site near the intersection of Enzi Drive and Southern Drive to include the fire station.

The maps were for information only and the trustees didn't act on the request.

"It's pretty tight, but it does all fit," Ayers said, showing the trustees areas designed for parking, a football stadium and track, six tennis courts, two soccer fields and two two-story adjacent buildings that would be about the size of the South Campus with about 210,000 to 250,000 square feet.

"If we choose to do this, their (contractor's) analysis is, we could do it," Ayers said.

But he also cautioned trustees that a capacity study being performed by the state Facilities Commission in six school districts, including Campbell County, could in some way change things. That study isn't expected to be completed until February.

Ayers said if the trustees agreed to the fire station request, they should think about whether they wanted that noise so close to a school.

He checked with other school districts who have fire stations near schools and said those administrators didn't mind the noise but "they liked the increased security" of having the service so close.

"If we proceed, I want assurance that we don't short ourselves," trustee Anne Ochs said. "It's not a yes or no, it's a let's talk." She suggested the trustees discuss the matter at a future meeting with the city of Gillette and County Commission.

"It looks like everything is covered, but we haven't even began to plan this," added trustee Lisa Durgin. "I'd love to cooperate with them and I think it would be great to collaborate with them, I just don't want to leave us short."

Ayers told trustees he also thought moving slowly on the request would be prudent.

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