SIERRA VISTA — The building of an emergency management services station off Buffalo Soldier Trail is set to begin in September, but the project will cost Sierra Vista about $1 million more than first projected due to rising construction costs, city officials said.
The station, which will help in emergency response times to Fort Huachuca and surrounding neighborhoods on the city’s south side, was initially projected to cost about $1.5 million. But the rise in construction costs of at least 30 to 40 percent has turned that number into about $2.5 million, said Sierra Vista Assistant City Manager Victoria Yarbrough.
The city received a U.S. Department of Defense grant for $1.4 million last year after demonstrating that the facility would provide a benefit to the military, as required by the federal government.
“We showed that the substation would help response times at Fort Huachuca and that the number of military people who live in our community would also benefit, improving the quality of life,” Yarbrough said.
The city also kicked in $100,000 for architectural and engineering work, bringing the total to just over $1.5 million, Yarbrough said.
“Part of the package was that a third party had to estimate our independent construction cost evaluation and that drove the numbers that we put in the grant for the construction costs,” Yarbrough explained.
“I think most people know that construction costs started skyrocketing last fall. By the time were ready to complete the design, the cost of almost every component in that building had gone up 30 to 40 percent in the least.”
But the EMS station will be built regardless, and the city will finance the additional expense, Yarbrough said.
Once completed in early 2022, the station will be staffed 24 hours a day, with two people present at all times, fire officials said last year.
At a Spotlight Breakfast in late 2019, Yarbrough said that response times to neighborhoods just off Buffalo Soldier were about eight minutes from city’s current stations on Fry Boulevard, Giulio Cesare Avenue and Avenida Cochise.
With the opening of the new facility, response times could be cut by about 25 percent, she said.
Sierra Vista Fire Chief Brian Jones told the Herald/Review last year that the city takes care of EMS services on post, but there is only one ambulance at the installation for three fire stations. There is another ambulance at the western end of Fort Huachuca at the Black Tower UAS outpost, as well.
The new EMS station will provide a second advanced life support ambulance for the three stations, Jones said.