With only a few months left in public office, Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum spent this past week wielding her ceremonial scissors and shovel, cutting the ribbon at the recently restored downtown firehouse and breaking ground for construction of the city’s new and bigger airline terminal. The new and bigger airline terminal will accommodate a greater volume of passengers with greater ease.

Due to the down economy, the construction bids on the terminal came in significantly lower than expected and will cost City Hall $32 million. The new structure will stand two stories tall and encompass 67,000 square feet. It will be the first new terminal built in the Spanish Colonial architectural style. Beyond the functional nuts and bolts, the new terminal will be a showcase for public art. In keeping with the gospel of sustainability preached in City Hall for the past four years, the new terminal will be built to achieve the second-highest standard of green building. Construction is estimated to be complete in 2011.

The mayor and crew also celebrated the grand opening of the seismically retrofitted downtown fire station at Carrillo and Chapala streets. Not only does the remodeled firehouse meet state seismic standards, but it now includes a new 1,600-square-foot emergency operations center. Construction has taken four years and cost $3.2 million. The “new” Fire Station 1 was built to even greener standards than the airport terminal, with solar panels installed on the roof. City Hall officials estimate the renovated building will use 35 percent less energy.

Next, city fire officials hope to convert the old muffler shop next to the downtown firehouse into administrative offices. That project should be competed in 18 months at an estimated cost of $3.75 million.


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