With construction already underway, the City held a groundbreaking ceremony for its expansion of the Public Safety Building, adaptive reuse of existing Fire Station 80 and construction of the new Fire Station 80 on Monday, April 13. The completion date is scheduled for Summer 2010. With the highest approval rating in City history, 83 percent of Coral Springs voters overwhelmingly approved a $13.5 million bond referendum to help build a new main fire station, hurricane-proof the Public Safety Building while expanding the facility’s capacity, and improve the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The City’s aggressive retirement of other debt made room for this financing without having to raise the debt service tax rate. Thanks to the City’s AAA bond rating, these dollars were borrowed at the lowest possible interest rate available to local governments. In addition to the bond, the City has obtained a $1.3 million grant from FEMA for hardening the outside structure of the Public Safety Building to withstand 140-mile-per-hour winds, as well as a $550,000 FEMA grant to build out the EOC. The grant funds have allowed the City to make important improvements now that were scheduled for a later date, and avoid making them payable from local taxpayer dollars. “A highly competitive bid process, receipt of federal grants and our AAA bond rating will enable us to complete this project well within budget,” City Manager Michael S. Levinson said. “The task ahead of us is to bring the project in on time. I’m confident our team will do just that.” When completed, the project will improve the delivery of public safety services by shortening emergency response times, deploying Fire and rescue equipment faster and safer, and centralizing critical Police equipment for a better, more coordinated response. A significant facet of the project is to modernize and expand the Public Safety Building, which, despite a few renovations over the years, the Police force has long since outgrown. Like the City’s population, the size of the force has tripled since 1982. The project will add 15,000 square feet of new office space to the Building and the department will also see the expansion of its current Dispatch and EOC facilities. Fire Station 80, which currently sits adjacent to the Public Safety Building, will be rebuilt on the site as the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified public building in Coral Springs. The four-bay, 13,000-square-foot station is the department’s central, busiest station and will house not only firefighters and a battalion chief but an aerial truck, rescue units, the air support unit and reserve apparatus.