New Fire Station to be Built on UCSD Campus

The City of San Diego’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee has unanimously approved the construction of a new fire station on the UC San Diego campus at its meeting on Jan. 8. The proposed size and location of the facility will be an approximate 10,500 square feet building near the intersection of North Torrey Pines Road and Northpoint Driveway.

The construction of the facility will be overseen as a partnership between the city of San Diego and UCSD. The fire station will respond to emergencies in the surrounding neighborhoods in the local area in addition to serving the needs of the campus, which is expected to offer nearly 20,000 undergraduate beds within the next three years.

This fire station is long overdue and I am appreciative of UC San Diego for their patience and commitment throughout the process,” City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who represents La Jolla, University City and nearby areas said. “The UC San Diego Fire Station is a much-needed infrastructure addition which will greatly benefit the surrounding community.”

Bry is running for Mayor of San Diego in 2020.

According to an article by the San Diego Union-Tribune that was published last year, the estimated cost of the station’s construction would be about $10 million of school funding, with an annual $4 million in personnel and operations costs to be covered by the city.

“UC San Diego is pleased that the San Diego City Council has approved a fire station to be built on the campus,” Chancellor Khosla said in a press release. “We look forward to working together with the City of San Diego on this vital project. UC San Diego is significantly growing its enrollment to make the university one of the nation’s premier residential campuses and it is critical that we address life safety issues as part of our growth.”

Back in 2010, a fire safety deployment planning study produced by a consulting group for the city concluded that San Diego had an insufficient number of fire crews and stations to properly respond to emergencies in certain areas. One of those areas listed as having inadequate emergency coverage was UCSD.

A report from the same group in 2017 reiterated, “As the 2010 study identified, over several decades as the City grew … it did not add enough fire stations to equitably cover all areas with best-practices-based response times. The only way to materially improve response times is to add the fire stations identified in this study.”

City officials also note that the rapid growth of campus population has led to an increase in incidents in areas beyond what existing stations can cover.

The proposed space is expected to accommodate 12 personnel for every 24-hour shift, which is the standard size for a fire station crew. The facility will also include enough space to dock three fire-vehicle apparatuses, as well as administrative offices, living quarters, kitchen and dining spaces, and exercise rooms.

With the addition of this on-campus fire station, UCSD will join UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz on the list of UC campuses with their own fire stations.

photo by Christian Duarte