Wanted: Architect to design a fire station in Holt

Holt Fire District headquarters is now across the road from the old community center complex seen here.

HOLT, Fla., Feb. 3, 2022—The Holt Fire District is looking for architectural services to design its new fire station.

A new request for proposal for qualified licensed architects was announced Feb. 2 with a deadline for submission no later than March 8.

Supporting documents, which include preliminary concept plans, civil engineering design and topographical survey, can be found on the fire district’s website at holtfiredistrict.com.

While a specific construction timeline isn’t readily available, plans are moving forward at their own speed, according to Holt Fire Commissioner Jim Connors.

“Constructing a new fire station isn’t something that happens overnight,” he said. “We have to send out bids for each phase, evaluate the bids, select a company and give them time to complete the work before we can move on to the next phase. That all takes time to do it right.”

As an example, the CE phase took nearly nine months, from RFP announcement to having drawings in hand.

“And we have to be good stewards of how we spend taxpayer money,” Connors said.

There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get to the construction phase, beginning with signing the contract with the State of Florida in January 2021.

Since then, the board of fire commissioners has been working toward the building phase.

“I know people are wondering when the actual ‘work’ begins—they want to see the station being built—but we’ve been working on getting to the construction phase since late 2020,” Connors said.

Holt Fire Commissioner Jim Connors signs the civil engineering contract Aug. 13, 2021, as Dale Long, owner of Municipal Engineering Services Inc., looks on.

First phase of the project was to find a civil engineer to lay the groundwork for the new station.

The District hired Navarre company, Municipal Engineering Services Inc., to design all the civil engineering requirements needed for the architectural and construction phases.

“The CE work is actually the foundation of the whole project,” said Connors. “You’ve got to get that part right before beginning the rest of the project.”

Hiring an architect is phase two of the overall project. Holt Fire District is looking for qualified licensed architects to design the station using the CE plans, the survey and preliminary concept plans of what the district is looking for in a new station.

The new fire station will be built on Holt Fire District property on U.S. Hwy 90 where the park is located. The park will continue to share the property with the station once it’s built.

Phase three will be the actual construction, which won’t happen until late this year, at the earliest.

“We’re not looking for any shovel work to begin for a while, yet,” Connors said. “It takes time to do this right. We’re more likely to see construction begin sometime in 2023.”

Holt residents are excited about seeing a new fire station go up in their community.

“It’s great that we’re getting a new firehouse. It’s about time,” said longtime Holt resident Brenda Russell. “The fire department does a great job for what they have to work with.”

Holt Fire District received a $813,000 grant from the State of Florida in 2020 to construct its first-ever fire station. This was the first time Holt received state money for a community project. Other large projects, such as building a rural water service in 1966, were funded through the U.S. government.

The new station will be built on the fire district’s 3-acre property where Holt Park is located in the vicinity of 620 U.S. Hwy 90 W.

The new station will be built on the front half of the property; the park will take up the back half. Okaloosa County has plans to build a community center as part of the park at a later date.

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