Avondale Fire Department

Avondale Fire Department officials, city of Avondale leaders, and representatives from Willmeng Construction and Perlman Architects prepare to cut the ribbon at the grand opening event at Avondale Fire Station No. 175. (Small Giants LLC/Submitted)

The city of Avondale activated its Fire Station 175 recently and celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an open house. 

Nicknamed “The Oasis,” Fire Station 175 is at 12495 W. Van Buren and houses Batallion 171 and Ladder 175.

“When you look at this station and you look at the commitment that the city council has made to our residents and, just as importantly, to our firefighters, this fire station is an extension of that partnership,” Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise said at the ribbon-cutting event. 

“It says to our firefighters that we value them. It says that we care about your safety with this state-of-the-art facility. And to our residents, it means a 10% decrease in response times throughout the city when we put this station into action.”

The facility was designed and constructed on a compacted schedule. Perlman Architects designed the 17,000-square-foot structure, and Willmeng Construction built it. Work started in April 2021 and was completed in February.

“This was a very fast-paced project. This type of facility typically takes a year to design, but this one was designed and constructed in less than a year,” said Gerrald Adams, Perlman Architects’ commercial director.

“A lot of heart, a lot of passion went into this project. This was the all-star team that put this together.”

Willmeng overcame a host of challenges to complete the work on time and on budget. COVID-19 hit the team hard during parts of the construction process, causing staffing shortages, and materials were delayed or prices changed. 

“We’re extremely grateful to be here today and humbled to have the opportunity to build this beautiful facility for the city of Avondale,” said Keith Sabia, Willmeng partner, who leads the firm’s public sector work. 

“Our team dealt with these challenges through the course of this project, and we hit the date, because we knew that this fire station had to provide a service to the community. This station provides new services to the city, so we knew as a partner that we had to do our part to deliver.”

The $12.4 million, 17,000-square-foot facility includes three bays, office space, 12 dorm rooms, lockers for 36, a full kitchen, dining room, laundry facilities, training area, exercise room, and spaces for public service outreach programs.

In September 2020, Avondale was awarded a $3 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to hire 14 new firefighters. New personnel hired to staff Fire Station 175 graduated fire academy training in May 2021.

“I want to thank the city, the mayor and the council for their support during this endeavor; we couldn’t have done this without their support,” Avondale Fire Chief Larry Rooney said.

“Gerrald and the Perlman team really listened to our needs and really took care of us, and we have a beautiful product. And the Willmeng team, they built this like it was their home.”

Weise noted that Avondale opened its first fire station in 1947 and the city will celebrate the department’s 75th anniversary in July.