Community on track to get new fire station

South Metro Fire Rescue announces early plans for third facility in Highlands Ranch


Plans for the third fire station in Highlands Ranch are underway.

Station 20 would sit on a plot of land north of Mountain Vista High School, off Wildcat Reserve Parkway and Summit View Parkway. The site — one of 10 considered — is 640 feet from the closest neighbor, near a signalized intersection and in close proximity to water infrastructure, including a tank and pump, South Metro Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Vince Turner said at a Jan. 30 Highlands Ranch Metro District board meeting.

“There were a lot of factors that went into why this site meets our needs,” Turner said. “Mostly it's operational.”

Construction of the station is made possible by the unification of the Highlands Ranch Metro District and South Metro Fire Rescue, which took effect Jan. 1.

For 37 years, Highlands Ranch contracted fire services from the City of Littleton through Littleton Fire Rescue, in partnership with the Littleton Fire Protection District.

Citing increasing costs and a desire for improved service and financial sustainability, the metro district considered joining forces with South Metro Fire Rescue. In a special election last May, voters approved the merger.

The election outcome means Highlands Ranch is now in South Metro's service area, which covers 179 square miles in Douglas and Arapahoe counties. The unification makes South Metro the second largest fire and rescue provider in Colorado.

If all goes as planned, construction of Station 20 is expected to begin this June or July and be complete in early 2020, according to Turner.

At opening, the station is expected to house four firefighters and one fire engine. South Metro expects the station to respond to between 600 and 1,000 calls in the first year — or about two to three a day.

South Metro's 30th fire station, Station 20 will benefit the overall system by reducing response times, Turner said. Station 20 will be in close proximity to the Backcountry Wilderness Area — 8,200 acres of open space bordering the southern edge of Highlands Ranch — which typically experiences brush fires in the hot summer months.

“This station will help to reduce the amount of time it takes for the first engine to get on scene of an emergency,” South Metro Assistant Chief Mike Dell'Orfano said. “This adds one more piece to the puzzle.”

South Metro will use capital funds to pay for the project. The total cost has not been determined, but Turner said similar fire stations can cost anywhere from $3 million to $8 million.

South Metro is working with OZ Architecture, a Denver-based firm with 14 years of fire station design under its belt. Early plans call for an 8,100-square-foot building with seven bedrooms, a dayroom, fitness area, kitchen, offices and basement to store wildland gear.

“We try to make the station very livable — make it feel like a home away from home for firefighters,” Eric Becker, an associate of OZ Architecture, said at the Jan. 29 meeting.

The next step is a community input process. An open house for the public is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 12 in the library of Mountain Vista High School, 10585 Mountain Vista Ridge.

South Metro will then move to the design development phase and submit plans to Douglas County for a building permit.

“This is a direct result of the merger,” Dell'Orfano said of Station 20. “By bringing together the community and resources, we are able to add this station and provide the best service possible to the area.”


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