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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Marks Opening of Santa Barbara’s New Fire Administration Annex

Chapala Street building, renovated with $3.75 million in Redevelopment Agency funds, features offices, a conference room and warehouse space

The city of Santa Barbara’s Fire Administration Annex was celebrated Wednesday after years of renovating the former muffler shop behind Station No. 1 into offices, a conference room and warehouse space.

It’s the Santa Barbara Fire Department’s fourth headquarters since its start in the 1880s, Chief Andrew DiMizio said at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Funded with $3.75 million of Redevelopment Agency money, the building at 925 Chapala St. is LEED certified and seismically safe, with offices for the chief and staff in operations, fire prevention and investigation. It also cleared up space in the main station for a classroom and conference room that doubles as the city’s Emergency Operations Center.

DiMizio said the department’s response to calls for service was never interrupted during construction, even with the Tea and Jesusita fires.

“It’s a special moment for us,” he said, adding that the real credit goes to the people who came before him and those who worked so hard getting the project completed.

Mayor Helene Schneider said department staff behind the scenes rarely get much attention and have been moved between temporary and rented offices for years, but the new building space will respect and honor the people who work there every day. She also said the city won’t have to worry about the emergency center and fire headquarters now if “the big one” hits since the building is seismically retrofitted.

The police station is another story, she said, but Wednesday was all about celebrating.

Current and retired fire personnel, City Council members, police officers, planning department staff and members of the community came to the ribbon cutting and admired the new building, which was designed by Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects Inc. and built by Western Group Inc.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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