Ground broken for new Piper fire station

Ground was broken on Saturday morning for a new fire station at 2913 Hutton Road in the Piper area of Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)

by Mary Rupert

After about five or six years of diligently working for a new fire station for Piper, Commissioner Mike Kane saw his project move forward in a big way on Saturday morning.

Ground was broken for new Piper fire station No. 12 at 2913 Hutton Road, which is near 107th and Leavenworth Road in Kansas City, Kansas.

Kane, the 5th District commissioner, said at the event that he had started bringing up the need for a new Piper fire station when he was first elected about 14 years ago, but that for a long time, he couldn’t get anyone to listen. Piper had a former township fire station that was known as a “pole barn” near 123rd and Leavenworth Road, he said.

He had his own medical episode about a year and a half ago with a need for an ambulance, and that “put the fire under me,” he said.

“This is very important to the community,” Kane, who represents the 5th District, said. The population of the Piper area had grown, without additional facilities. “We needed something like this. It’s very expensive, and without the commissioners’ help, we wouldn’t have done anything.”

The UG commissioned a study that indicated a need for two fire stations in the Piper area. It also indicated a need for many other new or renovated fire stations throughout Kansas City, Kansas.

A couple of years ago, there was some opposition to Kane’s idea to build the Piper fire station first, as some of the administration thought the building of new stations should be approached together in a plan, instead of one at a time.

But, as Kane said today, “We’ve got to start somewhere, and this was the start.” The Piper station is part of the plan, according to officials.

“This is the first one, we’re not done,” Kane said. Kane and other officials also thanked John Kelly of the UG buildings and logistics for his work on the project.

The new 10,834-square-foot fire station will include two drive-through bays and an ambulance bay, gear decontamination facilities, EMS storage, 10 bunk rooms, a kitchen, dining room, living space and day room, as well as a fitness room, according to information from the Unified Government. The cost of the fire station was expected to be in the $4 million to $5 million range. The contractor is Haren Contracting. Archimages is the architectural and design firm.

The new fire station location is just south of Leavenworth Road near 107th. It is fairly close to The Legends Outlets area, which is about 1.9 miles south of the new fire station. To the north, 1.7 miles away, is Piper High School.

Mayor David Alvey today gave a special thanks to Commissioner Kane for continually putting this issue before the commission and saying, “This is something we have to take care of.”

When asked later, Mayor Alvey said that the question might really be “when,” rather than “where” the next fire station will be, considering financial challenges.

Mayor Alvey said while there are plans to construct other new stations or renovate some, the site for the next new fire station has not yet been identified. There are so many fire stations that need work, including a lot of former township fire stations, he added.

He said the Turner area needs to be looked at, because some of those older township fire stations don’t serve the firefighters well. Some old stations may have mold or other conditions that are not ideal, he said. Most likely, they will take the worst ones and work them first, he said. Cost has been a factor in getting some of the work done over the years.

“I don’t understand how we neglected our physical needs over decades,” Mayor Alvey said, “probably 50 years of neglect.”

There also is a continual need to upgrade fire equipment, he added.

Commissioner Melissa Bynum, at-large District 1, pointed out that there is senior housing planned for the area around the new fire station.

She said the UG had studied the area in a systematic way and did not haphazardly choose this new fire station location. The UG studied the need and listened to residents, she said. The UG tried to align its goal for rebuilding critical infrastructure for what the community needs, she said.

Filling the gap in EMS and fire coverage was a critical need, and that’s why they knew this station had to come first, she said.

Also attending the groundbreaking ceremony were Unified Government Commissioners Tom Burroughs, Angela Markley, Gayle Townsend and State Sen. Kevin Braun, along with firefighters and UG officials.

Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Chief Mike Callahan said this will be the first new fire station built in Kansas City, Kansas, in 18 years, and will be the first new station ever for Piper.

“This station will incorporate the most up-to-date cancer prevention technology available for the members who are going to be serving in this station,” Chief Callahan said.

There is a need for more fire stations in Kansas City, Kansas, he said.

“This area needs another fire station,” Chief Callahan said. “There are other areas going to have new fire stations, as well.”

He mentioned that Turner is another area that needs work, in new buildings or renovations.

Many of the older firehouses were started by townships and were staffed by volunteers who typically didn’t live at the fire stations, he said. Those stations were then consolidated into Kansas City, Kansas.

“We’re doing the best we can with what we have,” he said.

The firehouses that are not going to be demolished will be rehabbed, he said, and there is a plan for it. There are plans for new facilities, land acquisition and rehabilitation of existing facilities, he said.

Mayor David Alvey, center, talked with firefighters and their families after the groundbreaking for the new Piper fire station. (Staff photo)
Commissioner Mike Kane, at the podium, has been working on a new Piper fire station diligently for at least five or six years. (Staff photo)
People gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony Saturday morning for the new Piper fire station at 2913 Hutton Road, Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)
An architect’s sketch of the new Piper fire station.
Refreshments included some confections with pictures of the new fire station and logos.
People gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony Saturday morning for the new Piper fire station at 2913 Hutton Road, Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)

Groundbreaking to be Saturday for new Piper fire station

A groundbreaking will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13, for the new Piper fire station.

The new fire station is at 2913 Hutton Road, Kansas City, Kansas.

Because Hutton Road is under construction, those attending the groundbreaking are asked to access the fire station construction site from Leavenworth Road. The location is a little south of Leavenworth Road, near 107th.

Piper boys win state basketball championship

Piper senior Brandan Jackson held the state championship trophy high. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Piper High School boys basketball team won the 4A KSHSAA state championship, defeating Augusta 86-53 in the tournament final in Salina on Saturday evening. It’s the first basketball championship in Piper school history.

Piper controlled the game from early on, outscoring the Orioles 20 to 12 in the opening quarter. The Pirates used their length to bother the Augusta shooters, and they used their speed to get to the basket and to misdirect the Oriole defense.

Piper senior Trey Bates controlled the offense, and his quick first step caused problems on the perimeter. He was repeatedly able to get space from his defender with a decoy move, then used the space for a step-back jumper or to find a teammate streaking to the basket. Piper got 46 points in the paint because of the quick movement out front, and active cutters to the lane along the baseline.

With a 17-point lead going into the fourth quarter, Piper piled on, leaving no chance for a comeback. They continued to look for high-percentage shots, hitting 68 percent of their second-half chances.

Trey Bates led the scoring with 21 in his last game in a Piper uniform. Tamar Bates was right behind with 20 points, and Friday night’s hero Ty Shelley poured in 15, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

The state championship caps a 20-4 season, in which the Pirates also captured their first Frontier League title.

The Piper boys basketball team posed together after winning the 4A state championship. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Piper senior Trey Bates (1) wiped away tears as he left the court for the final time as a Pirate. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
The Piper cheerleaders reacted to the championship win. The Piper cheerleading team also won a state championship this year. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Piper senior Braijion Barnes (4) went sky-high for a basket in the second half. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Piper brought along a large and noisy contingent of fans to the Tony’s Pizza Event Center in Salina. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Piper sophomore Tamar Bates (2) went up for a shot in the lane. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Brandan Jackson shot a runner in the lane. Jackson finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Trey Bates made a move off the dribble to get past Augusta defender Blake Altenhofen (4). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Piper coach Toure Grimes addressed the team during a timeout in the second half. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Piper junior Gabe Eskina (24) drove in along the left baseline. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Tamar Bates drove in from the left side. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Trey Bates pulled down an offensive rebound in the second half. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Gabe Eskina had a shot blocked by Augusta’s Ely Wilcox (25). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Braijion Barnes came down with a dunk. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Trey Bates released a 3-point shot from the right elbow. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Braijion Barnes went up with a runner in the lane. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Braijion Barnes lined up a 3-point shot from the left corner. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Trey Bates drove to the basket. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)