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Southside substation operational

Members of the Ambassador Group of The Chamber join city officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the new West Fargo Fire Department fire hall Wednesday, September 14, at the intersection of 29th Avenue and Fifth Street West in West Fargo. Dave Wallis / Forum Communications Co.

West Fargo's new southside fire and police substation is now complete and operational at the intersection of 29th Avenue and Fifth Street West, with a special ribbon cutting held Wednesday, Sept. 14, marking the occasion. West Fargo Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider and West Fargo Police Chief Arland Rasmussen welcomed guests and extended a special thank you to all who helped make the station a reality.

A variety of dignitaries were on hand for the observance including USDA Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider, West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, City Commissioners Lou Bennett, Duane Hanson and Mike Thorstad, members of the fire department board of directors as well as volunteer firefighters, and members of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce who conducted the ribbon cutting.

The new 9,000 square foot facility houses five truck bays, offices and space for future 24-hour staffing for the fire department; with the police department occupying one bay and a portion of the office and storage areas. 

Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider has emphasized all along that the new station was necessitated by the ongoing, excessive population growth in recent years as the community expanded south of I-94. "You just have to look around this area to see why this was a needed facility," Schatschneider said, pointing out all the commercial and residential development around the substation.

"This is the culmination of over three years of planning and work by many very dedicated people," said Schatschneider. "The Fire Department Board of Directors and Building Committee, City of West Fargo staff, the architect and general contractor, and USDA Rural Development personnel all worked hand in hand to bring this project to a successful completion.  This project will serve the citizens of West Fargo well into the future."

Schatschneider stated the realization of the new location will go a long way in shortening response times to fire calls on the southside as well as adding additional coverage for the northside where the original fire station is located on First Street.

Schatschneider's thank yous also included two special presentations to Eric Grindberg, representing DMI Industries for the donation of office furniture and Loren Thoennes of Brenco Corp. for his pressure washer contributions. "We appreciate it and thank you very much for your continuous support of the West Fargo department," Schatschneider said as he acknowledged both men and their businesses.

Rasmussen thanked the commission and the community for allowing the police department to be a part of the venture. "Our staff can now stay down here during bad weather. This is a great facility for us and we will make great use of it. Thank you for letting us be a part of this fantastic building."

Total project cost was approximately $1.75 million, with funding arrived from the fire department's building fund as well as a $1.5 million loan from USDA.

Schneider said the USDA was proud to be involved with the project, making it a point to visit the community several times during the building phases to check up on the station's progress. "It takes a team to make a project like this happen. What a beautiful facility you have. With West Fargo's rapid growth comes the need for rapid service and this station will provide that service to this booming community. Congratulations. We hope you enjoy the new station; and we are proud to have played a small role in today."

The volunteer West Fargo Fire Department, a non-profit corporation, has been operating out of the original fire hall on 106 First Street since 1941.  The department currently has three full-time employees and 42 volunteer firefighters.