Katy Fire Station 1 repairs underway as voters consider bond

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 3/22/21

Repairs are underway at Katy Fire Department’s Fire Station One at 1417 Avenue D in Katy after water leaked into the building causing mold and other concerns, city officials say. The overhaul …

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Katy Fire Station 1 repairs underway as voters consider bond

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Repairs are underway at Katy Fire Department’s Fire Station One at 1417 Avenue D in Katy after water leaked into the building causing mold and other concerns, city officials say. The overhaul of the building – which Mayor Bill Hastings says has a long history of maintenance concerns – is being paid for out of the city’s recently-established Capital Improvement fund for possible reimbursement through bond sales if city voters approve an upcoming bond referendum in May.

“I can tell you that within the first month – month-and-a-half – of being in that building, there were some leaks,” said Hastings who was a volunteer with the department in 1983 when the building first opened. “And the leaks were all centered to one area; (the builder) came back and they would fix them.”

Hastings said water leaks in the building have been an ongoing issue since the 38-year-old building was built. He wasn’t sure what caused the issue initially but said the inspection and project management process for the city at the time was not what the city has in place now. Additionally, he said, the volunteers at the department had no say in how the building was designed. As a result, the building has been patched, modified and remodeled several times and has continued to always have issues with being watertight and serving the needs of the department, as well as the city would like, which has led to the current repair which was approved by Katy City Council at its Dec. 14, 2020 meeting.

City Administrator Byron Hebert said the city decided when repair needs were identified by former Fire Chief Rusty Wilson, Hebert took the issue to Hastings and said it was time to get the right engineers involved in the repair and remediation process and decide whether to do another repair or tear the building down and replace it.

According to city documents, the city had the building analyzed and brought in engineers and contractors to assess its condition. Eventually, the city decided to repair the building rather than replace it. Contractors assured city officials the work could be done properly and that repairs would last and meet the city’s standards, documents said.

“We believe that now we’ve finally gotten enough engineers involved and enough contractors that have experience in these types of (repair issues) that we will not have any further problems with it when they finish,” Hastings said.

Current concerns include mold remediation and repairs in the administrative area of the building on the south side as well as associated repairs and sealing of the roof and walls to ensure water infiltration doesn’t occur again, said Katy Public Works Director Elaine Lutringer.

The $600,000 repair project is being completed by The Gordian Group for the initial round of repairs which began Jan. 12.

Work in the first phase of the repair is expected to be completed the last week of May, Lutringer said.

Interim Fire Chief Kenneth Parker said firefighters are currently working out of the Fussell Senior Center and working remotely has not had an impact on KFD response times because all of the needed equipment, including vehicles, are immediately available to them at the center.

Proposition A, which is on the May 1 ballot for Katy voters, would reimburse the Capital Improvement Fund for the initial cost of this repair and would include another $200,000 to address any other issues identified by contractors as they complete the first phase of repairs to the station, according to city documents.

Hastings applauded the dedication of Katy’s firefighters and EMS staff as they deal with the repairs in addition to the issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They have weathered through this transition with the station and upset of having to move in a remarkable way,” Hastings said.

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