August 10, 1998
Fire District looks at Knoll Lumber
by Andrew Walgamott
WOODINVILLE--After structural engineers finish poring over the Knoll Lumber building, the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District may move in.
It would bring the district to downtown Woodinville, a long-time goal.
"We're excited about it," said Frank Peep, WFLSD Board of Commissioners chairman. Last week, the five-member board voted unanimously to purchase the building contingent upon a 30-day feasibility study.
The study will determine the costs of converting the 19,000 square-foot building from a store selling nails, paint, sanders and drywall to a fire station, administrative office and training facility. The Knoll Lumber building is located at 17718 Woodinville-Snohomish Road.
"If everything looks okay at the end of 30 days, its ours," Peep said.
The district would pay $2.5 million for the building and 2.3 acres of land. Fire Chief Steve Smith said the district must decide by August 26 whether to follow through. If so, the structure would serve as district headquarters.
The district says a fire station there would allow them to meet national response time standards, responding to 80 percent of medical alarms within four minutes and 80 percent of fire alarms in urban areas within five minutes.
Peep said the district is finding that many of their calls are coming from the downtown core. With retirees moving into Brittany Park, and TRF construction coming along, more people are in the downtown area.
Speaking at City Hall, Woodinville Mayor Don Brocha said it would be "a positive to have the station down here," though he expressed some disappointment the district passed on the possibility of locating with the city at the Northshore School District's Sorenson complex.
The district had plans to base an ambulance at a temporary station behind City Hall. But unless Knoll is found unacceptable, that would be scratched.
The site became available recently after Knoll closed its doors there. "We saw the potential," Peep said, "talked about it and decided to make an offer."
If the district moves in, they will then consider putting Station 31 up for sale. Smith said real estate agents have estimated it to be worth $1.8 million. He said agents said existing buildings in the industrial area are scarce, and were confident it would sell within 90 days.
The district has another $1.7 million budgeted for building a new station as well.
Station 31, which is located near the King-Snohomish County line, was built in 1987 when King County Fire District 42 covered downtown Woodinville. In 1992, the two districts merged.
The district owns three acres south of Boston Market but can't build on that.