Morgan Hill City Council member Gino Borgioli, Mayor Mark Turner, Council member Yvonne Martinez Beltran, City Manager Christina Turner, Morgan Hill Fire Chief George Huang and Council member Rene Spring were among the public officials present at the Sept. 12, 2023 groundbreaking for the city's third fire station on Butterfield Boulevard. Photo: Michael Moore

The empty lot at 17285 Butterfield Blvd.—located between the South County Courthouse and the VTA parking lot—has served a number of public uses since the City of Morgan Hill purchased the land for a future fire station more than a decade ago. 

The property was once a skate park, then at one point transitioned into the city’s first community garden before those popular uses outgrew the small spot. 

Throughout that time, the city has had only two fire stations (not counting CalFire’s Santa Clara Unit headquarters just south of town) while calls for emergencies have steadily grown each year. Also over the last 10-plus years, the city has had plans for a new fire station at the site detailed in its Capital Improvement Program. 

In the coming weeks, crews will finally begin construction on Morgan Hill’s third fire station at the property, expecting the new facility to be completed and operational about a year later. 

The city held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Butterfield Station site on Sept. 12, which was attended by elected city council members, public safety officials and dozens of firefighters and members of the community. 

Morgan Hill Fire Chief George Huang, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, said the event is an “inflection point in history,” representing mutual commitment that the Morgan Hill community and its firefighters have toward each other. 

Huang also noted the new fire station is a long time coming, as he expects total emergency calls for fire and medical services in 2023 to surpass 5,000 calls by the end of the year. That compares to 3,900 calls in 2020; 4,400 in 2021; and 4,700 in 2022. 

The Morgan Hill City Council in June awarded a nearly $8 million contract to Kent Construction to build the 6,065-square-foot Butterfield Station. The project had been previously designed by Jeff Katz Architects, now known as COAR Design Group. 

Mayor Mark Turner, speaking at the Sept. 12 ceremony, said the design includes two fire apparatus bays, living quarters and office facilities for the Morgan Hill Fire Department. 

“This fire station will support and enhance safety for our residents and businesses now and into the future,” Turner said. “We’re proud to not only be able to construct this station but also to be able to fully fund and staff this station upon its opening.”

A conceptual drawing by Jeff Katz Architecture shows what the proposed Butterfield Fire Station will look like.

Construction of the new fire station is funded largely by fees that have been and will be collected from developers well into the future, City Manager Christina Turner noted. 

The audience at the Sept. 12 ceremony included city officials of the past, who were instrumental in beginning the planning for the Butterfield Station—including former Fire Chief Jake Hess, former City Manager Ed Tewes and former City Council member John McKay. 

Another highlight of the new fire station design includes its use of all-electric power, with no gas facilities. Justin Zagunis of Silicon Valley Clean Energy expects the new station to serve as an example that will “demonstrate the practicality of modern, efficient, pollution-free building for our entire state to celebrate.”

Zagunis noted that SVCE contributed $500,000 to the Butterfield Station project. 

“We congratulate Morgan Hill and CalFire for having the vision and leadership to establish a high bar for other cities to follow as they’re looking at other projects like this,” Zagunis said. 

Previous articleCounty supes approve multi-faceted approach to fentanyl crisis
Next articleCommission kicks off Coastal Cleanup Month
Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here