East Palo Alto fire station torn down

New, expanded facility to be completed by end of the year

Fire Station 2, Menlo Park Fire Protection District's busiest station, has been demolished in East Palo Alto and is expected to reopen as a 12,000-square-foot facility by the end of this year, Chief Harold Schapelhouman has announced.

The 4,300-square-foot station, located at 2290 University Ave., was built in 1956 and is one of seven fire stations operated by the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. Four of those stations are more than 57 years old and were built in the 1940s or early 1950s. All are in need of revamping, but the East Palo Alto station was selected as the district's highest replacement priority, Schapelhouman said in a statement.

Station 2 is one of the busiest Peninsula fire stations between San Francisco and San Jose, averaging 2,000 to 3,000 responses per year. In recent years, the station was the fire district's busiest station, and East Palo Alto has become the district's most populous city, with an estimated 36,000 to 40,000 residents. The city is also the district's most densely populated jurisdiction, according to Schapelhouman.

"The station project has enjoyed widespread community support," he said. "We want this to be a building that all East Palo Alto residents can be proud of and benefit from. Its importance to this community is critical to our emergency operations and the overall safety of this community."

The district has incrementally worked towards replacing the station for the last nine years. It surveyed the area for a new location, but eventually determined that its current home was both strategic and the most cost-beneficial. The district purchased two residential structures behind the current station for less than $1 million and demolished them to make room for the expanded facility.

In 2009, the district applied for a $5 million federal stimulus grant to offset the cost of construction, but it did not receive the grant, according to the statement. Since the economic downturn, the district has adopted a "phased approach" to the project in order to keep it moving forward and spread out the costs.


The new, modern station will cost an estimated $6 million. It will include larger drive-through apparatus bays, more storage space for apparatus and equipment, a community room, an emergency operations center for the city and enlarged crew quarters to support a potential increase in new personnel and units assigned to the station. The station's service life is pegged at 60 to 70 years, or through the year 2084.

Demolition will be completed by the end of this week. During construction, fire crews for the station are operating out of temporary quarters on the existing lot.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the new station will be held in March.


Like this comment
Posted by Follow-up question
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 28, 2014 at 10:58 am

I'm curious how they are housing and delivering the busy emergency services in that area during the construction period.

Like this comment
Posted by Safer I think
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I just feel good about the new safety for the people.

Like this comment
Posted by wondering
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm

When Will That Financially Irresponsible City Build A Police Department?

Like this comment
Posted by Josh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2014 at 10:20 pm

To wondering,

The fire station is in East PA, not Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Fischer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 2, 2014 at 1:24 am

Hello, My nieghbors ,...At ","wondering ,.You just keep,.."wondering",.. Kudos to our local fire district,..this is a great upgrade to our fire district . This is a great city lots of improvement has gradually taken place ,..and our city Council is doing a great job ,..SLOWLY BUT SHOWLY,..Its getting done ,..If you do not live here save your negative A** , And just plain shut your trap its simple ,..I love E.P.A. Ca.,

Like this comment
Posted by Steven Kennedy
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2014 at 6:33 am

I'm just wondering if the new Station II, located in the most densely populated area of the fire district, will be inundated by rising sea levels caused by global warming or if it will survive to the end of its service life, around the year 2084.

With that in mind, wouldn't it be a good idea to place solar PV panels on the roof of the new fire station from the get go?
My rule of thumb is, organizations that delay going solar, whether purchased or leased, will never catch up financially, to the early adopters of the technology.

With the new station costing $6 million, would it hurt to spend another $35,000 for solar PV (or lease it for 20 years for little or no upfront cost through a fixed, net lease that never goes up?)

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