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Three's the charm: Final fire station opens at Highland

Medford’s newest fire station opened to much fanfare Friday morning as local officials celebrated a project that had been in financial limbo for two years.

“I’m happy to report this station was built on time and under budget,” Councilor Mike Zarosinski said.

The new red and gray Fire Station No. 3, at 534 Highland Drive, sits next door to the 1954 Station 3, which resembles a house.

“This is three times bigger than the original,” Zarosinski told an audience of community residents, city officials and firefighters.

Medford Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fish said the cost of the building should be about $4.65 million once all the expenses come in, which he said puts it about $200,000 under budget.

As an homage to older fire stations, Fish said ornate light poles were refinished and installed near the front of the building near the flag pole.

The station is one of three new fire stations in Medford, financed from $38 million in bonds that also paid for a police station and improvements at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

Station 3 is also the last of the city’s big civic projects to be completed.

In September 2015, the council discovered it was $6 million short on the police and fire stations. At the time, subcontractor bids came in higher than expected.

As a result, the city worked to cut costs but also tabled Station 3. The other two stations together cost $10.6 million.

“Like many projects, this one has had its ups and down,” said David Wilkerson of ORW Architecture.

But the problems of the past were eclipsed by the sound of bagpipes, speeches and the official rolling back of a fire engine into the new bay.

Adroit Construction Co. of Ashland worked on all three new fire stations and the new police station.

“We’re really grateful to see a project like this stay right here in Southern Oregon,” said Jason Stranberg of Adroit.

Since the new station is to the south of the former station, fire engines should have an easier time getting in and out because they will be farther away from the roundabout.

Besides a massive engine bay, the station has bedrooms for the firemen, a large kitchen, a den and an exercise room.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford Fire Chief Brian Fish addresses guests and firefighters during the grand opening of Fire Station #3 at the corner of Highland Dr and Siskiyou Blvd in Medford Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford Fire color guard salute after raising the US flag during the grand opening of Fire Station #3 at the corner of Highland Dr and Siskiyou Blvd in Medford Friday.