Study: Same-Site Philomont Firehouse Feasible

This article was updated Friday, Sept. 3 at 4:22 p.m. to reflect a clarification from the county that the county’s budget for a new Philomont firehouse includes all expenses, such as furniture, while the study estimate includes only construction.

A feasibility study for building a new Philomont fire and rescue station on the station’s current site at the heart of the village—rather than on the former Philomont Horse Show grounds—has found that building a new station on the same site is feasible.

The current fire station was built in 1956 and expanded in 1975 and 1994, but it is undersized and unsafe by modern standards. Although it is now staffed 24 hours a day, it lacks facilities such as decontamination areas, separate showers and lockers for men and women, and vehicle bays large enough to accommodate new, larger emergency vehicles.

The county government had planned to build a new station on a 7-acre parcel that until last year hosted the annual Philomont Horse Show, and which is owned by the Philomont Volunteer Fire Department. The horse show, which the volunteers hosted as a fundraiser since 1957, was retired last year. But county leaders decided to conduct a feasibility study on using the current site after outcry from the community, and over skepticism from county planners and the fire-rescue department.

A study by Reston-based LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects found that expanding the current building, or tearing it down and building a new one on the same site, could work. And the architects projected a price tag of up to $20 million, which is just within the county’s current budget for the project of $21.9 million. However, the county’s budget item includes all expenses—such as fit-out and furniture—while the study’s estimates do not.

Both options include $2.4 million to build a modular, metal-frame temporary station offsite so the company can keep running calls during the projected 18-month construction period. However, the study also notes that, while preliminary designs meet the requirements for the station, the fire-rescue department will have to make some compromises from their standard design, such as using a two-story station rather than one-story, to fit the relatively compact 2.3-acre site. And it notes there are some other expenses not included in the cost estimates, such as relocating a cell tower onsite.

Loudoun County will host a meeting to hear input from the community on the Philomont Fire and Rescue Station onThursday, Sept. 9, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Woodgrove High School, 36811 Allder School Road in Purcellville.

Meeting materials, including a sign-up and comment form, project information, and the feasibility study are atloudoun.gov/philomontstation. Members of the public must sign up in advance to ask questions at the event. Signups are due by noon Wednesday, Sept. 8.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider options for the station at its meeting Oct. 5. Once supervisors votes on their preferred option, the design process is expected to last approximately two years.

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