Construction is next for new Inver Grove Heights fire station

The Inver Grove Heights City Council approved the final designs of a new $8.7 million fire station Aug. 6. On Sept. 10, a contractor was selected to build the station, which will be located at Highway 52/55 and Concord Boulevard. submitted graphic

Planning is complete for a new fire station in Inver Grove Heights. 

On Sept. 10, the Inver Grove Heights City Council awarded the construction contract to Jorgenson Construction for the new station. Jorgenson came in with the lowest bid out of five contractors at $8,665,000, and the bid includes three alternative plans.

Fire Chief Judy Thill said one of the alternatives is for an elevated training area on the southwest side of the building, which would require additional roof support and various other safety measures. The area would be used for training for things like elevated rescue operations.

The second alternative is additional square footage in the basement that would be used for training on things like firefighter survival and changeable search and rescue situations.

"With the amount of training designed into this building, our personnel would no longer need to travel outside the city for basic and advanced fire and rescue training, anything that does not have to do with live burn training," she said of the plans for the three-floor station.

The final alternative is to change four overhead doors to bi-fold doors, which are better for climate control and open and close more quickly, allowing for better response times.


Planning process

 Thill said the city hired a consulting group in 2011 to conduct a station location and need study. 

"The intent of the study was to analyze Inver Grove Heights Fire Department's fire and EMS response to determine risk and propose locations for a future fire station that would resolve any deficiencies identified by the study," Thill said. 

The study confirmed the need for a third station in a location that would help with response times in the southern portion of the city.

Thill said the study also identified a general location of where the new station should be and recommended four different parcels. The city eventually arrived on a spot at Highway 52/55 and Concord Boulevard, which it bought in 2017.

In December a public hearing was held to consider issuing Capital Improvement Bonds to help fund this project. 

"In 2018, things obviously started to pick up," Thill said.

February brought forth proofs and schematic designs. An open house was held in March to give neighbors around the proposed site a chance to learn more about the project. 

Final plans for the station were brought to the council in August. 

The new station will include a decontamination area for fire gear since "cancer is becoming the No. 1 cause of firefighter fatalities," Thill said.


Council comments

Council member Rosemary Piekarski Krech asked if Jorgenson had built a fire hall before, to which Thill said she did not believe so.

"Do we feel they have the competency to do this?" Piekarski Krech asked.

Thill said the company does, adding it's built other public buildings like schools.

Council member Paul Hark asked how much time the alternate doors save on calls. Thill said the bi-fold doors open and close quickly, and part of the time saved is not sitting and waiting for the overhead doors to be fully opened. The same is true for making sure the doors are closed when leaving.

Steve Gausman with Five Bugles Design, which did the preliminary and final designs of the station, said bi-fold doors open in roughly four seconds, as opposed to the 30 seconds it takes with an overhead door.

Gausman said the bi-fold doors are also safer, as firefighters in trucks have a better view of whether the door is fully open.

The council voted unanimously to award Jorgenson the construction contract, with all three alternates.

"We don't need a halfway-done fire station," Piekarski Krech said.


– Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

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