With construction moving right along, it won’t be long until Terrace’s Search and Rescue (SAR) members will be buzzing in and out of their new headquarters on Greig Avenue.
So far, SAR and the community have spent more than $1 million on the project and are working towards the goal of installing all the windows and doors, and laying out concrete in the interior by Christmas.
But come spring, Terrace SAR treasurer Dave Jephson estimates the organization will need to fundraise $400,000 to finish any outstanding work, including laying concrete, putting in sidewalks, drainage and electrical work outside.
“We believe by this August, in eight months, that we can have the grand opening for our building,” Jephson says. “Success is for us to be in the building, holding a training class with the flooring in, the desks in, the phone ringing and power on, and not owing anybody any money.”
Crews have gone a long way to get new headquarters to where it is today, and walking around the building, Jephson was proud to point out its key features.
Five large bay doors leading into the 6,000 sq. ft. ground floor are visible from the back of the building.
“In here there will be more vehicle storage for our quads or our rhinos, bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities — so that’s all going in this area,” he says. A stairway will eventually replace the ladder leading up to the building’s second floor at 3,600 sq. ft.
Scaling the ladder with expertise that comes with decades of experience, Jephson walks around what will become the main floor of SAR’s new headquarters.
“So here is the front entrance,” Jepshon says, standing at the edge of a large open space in the wall facing Greig Avenue. Soon, that gap will have doors that serve as the front entrance into the headquarters.
Just outside, a three-metre wide sidewalk will be built stretching all the way across the front, with ramp access to the entrance. Vehicles will be able to drive up and park along the street in front of the building as well.
“You’ll come in here, this door will be a slider door, and then you walk in and then you’re greeted into this awesome space,” Jephson explains.
Visitors and members will enter the lobby area of the building, where a display case will sit in the middle of the floor. There will be a kitchen area towards the back, washrooms along the side, with two offices and open space for members to use for training exercises, meetings, or to simply unwind from a stressful call.
With limited space at their current training room at the city’s fire hall, the new open space would allow for between 60 to 80 members to sit comfortably during classes. This is a huge improvement, considering how difficult it is to seat more than 30 people at their current location, Jephson says.
And with enough donations, Terrace SAR will be able to purchase two overhead projectors to accommodate large training classes with automatic blinds on the windows.
“We train with other agencies, but we also train other teams. We’re very predominant in swift water rescue, and we host tracking courses. One of our members does a phenomenal job organizing those, he gets people from across the province to come here. It makes me really proud to talk about this,” he says. “Now instead of renting out another spot, we could easily host it here.”
Then stretching from the far-right wall on the outside of the building to the top of an embankment will be a walk-out deck for members to use, with more room for storage below.
$400K still needed
With donation money still coming in, Jephson estimates around $1 million has been raised to date, with SAR members pitching $300,000 of their own team money. Now the organization needs to raise the remaining $400,000 to get the project across the finish line.
“We believe that will get us to the end,” Jepshon says. “Success is for us to be in the building, holding a training class, with the flooring in and the desks in, the phone ringing, the power on, and not owing anyone any money.”
Though there’s still a way to go before the new building is complete. Any donations, large or small, will help Terrace SAR cover what’s needed to complete the project.
For example, Western Financial Group Inc. donated $2,648 towards the project. Jephson also gave another resident a tour of the facility this month, who then pledged another $50,000 to Terrace SAR.
Everyone in the community should visit the building and take a look at what they’ve accomplished so far, and visualize what’s to come, Jephson says.
“You need to go and have a look. You need to drive down to Clinton Street and Greig Avenue and actually see what these individuals have accomplished. Look at what our community was able to do,” he says.
“The community has been phenomenal. We have that support because so many families have been directly touched by what we do. We’re risking our lives saving other people, we’re giving back to our community because we all believe in it.”
Want to help Terrace SAR fundraise for their new headquarters? Money transfers can be emailed directly to SAR at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the organization’s GoFundMe page. For more information, contact the email address listed above, or ask a local SAR member.
If donors require a tax receipt, payments can be made to the City of Terrace, in care of Terrace Search and Rescue.