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13 FIRE STATIONS BEHIND SCHEDULE.

Byline: - Harrison Sheppard

Thirteen of 21 fire station projects are behind schedule but are expected to be completed by the target date in 2006, while a long-delayed San Fernando Valley dispatch center is expected to open by 2004, officials said Monday.

The fire station projects are behind schedule because of the difficulty in finding the sites needed to keep response times low, Los Angeles Fire Department officials told the City Council's Public Safety Committee. Once the sites are located and acquired, officials expect to catch up to the schedule and complete the projects by the target date required by the voter-approved bonds financing the projects.

``Personally I'm confident we're going to complete the project within the master schedule, which says it will be completed by December 2006,'' said Allan Kawaguchi, program manager for the fire bond program.

The stations are financed by Proposition F, a $532 million bond passed in November 2000 for new fire stations and animal shelters.

The eight animal shelters, designed to be friendlier to potential pet owners, are on schedule, officials said.

Meanwhile, new police stations planned under last year's $600 million Proposition Q are on schedule and budget, with the West Valley station ahead of schedule and expected to be completed in two years, said Sam Tanaka, manager of the police bond program.

A new emergency dispatch center planned for the San Fernando Valley - financed by Proposition M in 1992 - is nearly built, but the radio equipment will not be available until March 2004, officials said.

The project, including a new dispatch center downtown, was originally supposed to be done by 2000, but the scope of the work has changed over the years, said Jeff Jantz, commanding officer of the city's emergency communications systems division.

About six weeks ago, the city moved its 911 operators from the basement of City Hall East to the new Metropolitan Dispatch Center downtown, and will move radio operations in about two weeks, Jantz said.

City Councilman Dennis Zine said he thinks the city should get the Valley center running now, as well, and upgrade the technology when it is available.

``We can always upgrade,'' he said. ``Technology always changes.''

Jantz said they are looking at ways to at least get the Valley dispatch center partially running before the new radio technology is available.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 7, 2003
Words:384
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