By Ann McCreary
Commissioners have selected Rusty Stamps, a division chief for Okanogan County Fire District 6, to become the new assistant chief for the fire district.
Stamps, who supervises training in the district, is filling the position previously held by Cody Acord. Acord served as interim chief for two years while former Chief Don Waller was on a paid leave of absence prior to retiring, under a contract negotiated with the district. Acord became District 6 chief in January when Waller’s contract ended.
Fire commissioners plan to hire another division chief to replace Stamps, which will bring the total paid staff in the district to five.
In other business at their monthly meeting on Monday (May 14), commissioners said the district will continue gathering information regarding the future location of a proposed new Winthrop fire station. Commissioners are evaluating the relative merits of property currently owned by the district on Horizon Flats and another property under consideration on White Avenue. More information is needed regarding the impact of a critical areas ordinance on the Horizon Flats site, Acord said.
Acord also briefed commissioners on a conference about fire station construction that he recently attended in Texas. Presenters at the conference said the average national cost of station construction in 2016 was $375 per square foot, including design and construction costs. Acord said Fire District 6 was considering a building that was estimated to cost about $200 per square foot, however, those plans were set aside three years ago when bids for the project came in far higher than anticipated.
Commissioners and the architect who designed the building had estimated the 12,000-square-foot station would cost about $2.4 million, but the lowest bid was $3.6 million, or about $300 per square foot. The fire district has been exploring options for a new fire station for almost a decade, including developing drawings for one building and full engineering for a second building, Acord said.
District officials say a new station is needed to replace a leased facility in Winthrop that poses safety risks for firefighters who must get ready to respond to fire calls in cramped quarters between fire trucks.