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San Diego breaks ground on university fire station that will house all-electric fleet

The addition of Fire Station 52, which will serve the UCSD campus and nearby neighborhoods, is expected to improve response times in the fast-growing area


Image/San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria

David Garrick
The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — Construction will begin this month on a long-awaited fire station serving the UCSD campus and nearby neighborhoods, city and university officials announced Monday.

The two-story station, just off North Torrey Pines Road at the northwest corner of campus, will be the first fire station in San Diego with all-electric firefighting vehicles and a rapid electric vehicle charging station.

When the station begins operations in 2024, it is expected to improve emergency response times in fast-growing University City. A second new station serving the area opened in late 2020 on Shoreline Drive.

Concerns about slow response times fueled a years-long controversy over whether city officials should follow through with plans to build a connector bridge for Regents Road. The bridge has not been built.

“The recent increase in population and density on campus, as well as surrounding communities, means calls for service increase,” Fire Chief Colin Stowell said. “Once operational, Fire Station 52 will fill a great need in this area.”

The university gave the city $20.5 million and the land where the station will be built. The total cost of the project is estimated at $22.3 million.

“This community has waited patiently for more than five years for a new fire-rescue station, and I’m happy to say we’re finally getting it done,” Mayor Todd Gloria said.

“This new fire station greatly enhances safety not just for UC San Diego, but also for everyone living and working near campus,” said university Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

The 14,000-square-foot station will have three apparatus bays, sleeping quarters for nine personnel, two offices, an exercise room, a kitchen, a “ready” room and on-site parking.


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'On the Boards': Torrey Pines Fire Station No. 52 – San Diego

U.C. San Diego provided the city a piece of land on campus where a station could improve response times to the university and the surrounding community

Councilmember Joe LaCava said the electric vehicles will help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Electrification of our fleet and our facilities will propel us toward our Climate Action Plan goals,” he said.

The project continues a long string of recent efforts to build new stations and renovate others.

Since 2014, San Diego has built new stations in University City, City Heights, Little Italy, Mission Valley, Point Loma and Hillcrest. In addition, stations in La Jolla, Mira Mesa, North Park and Southcrest have been renovated.


This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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