Cooperation and collaboration between the city, county and San Bernardino County Fire Department has created a joint project of historic proportions and importance, according to officials at Monday's dedication of Fire Station #305.


"This is the example of good government," County Fire Chief Pat Dennen said of the $6.7 million, state-of-the-art facility. "I'm glad to be a part of history, and that is exactly what it is."


Local dignitaries were in complete agreement with the assessment of the county's top firefighter.


"Just like Chief Dennen said, this is historic," said Assemblyman Anthony Adams. "It's an example of what can happen when agencies come together."


Not only is the 18,478-square-foot facility the largest fire station in San Bernardino County, but the project was conceived, designed and constructed extremely quickly. Monday's event, which included tours of the station, came "one year, one week and one day from groundbreaking," according to Hesperia City Manager Mike Podegracz, who served as event master of ceremonies.


The station, which is located on Caliente Road near Joshua Street and the I-15 freeway, will provide fire protection services to residents of Hesperia and Oak Hills. Both incorporated and unincorporated areas will receive service. Initially, it will host one paramedic fire engine and eventually serve as the County Fire Department's North Desert Division headquarters.


"It will mean improved response times throughout the region," said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt.


The station cost an estimated $4.5 million less to build than it would have in previous times due to the construction downturn, which resulted in lower construction-related costs, according to public information officer Tracy Martinez.


Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith noted that if the city funded a similar project by itself, the result would be only have the size. Working together was cost-effective, and area residents will benefit as a result, Smith said.


"They were on time and under budget on this one," Smith added.


Percy Bakker, a former Hesperia mayor, had one word for the facility: "Spectacular!"


He recalled lending a hand in the building of Hesperia's Olive Street station more than 30 years ago.


"There's some fond memories," Bakker said. "It's quite a revelation to think back 35 years. It [the Olive Street Station] was the top of the line."


Others on hand at the event included numerous top fire officials, Hesperia City Councilmembers Ed Pack, Rita Vogler and Mike Leonard along with representatives of the Oak Hills Property Owners Association and the Zone J Advisory Board.


Built with the area's growth in mind, the new station features 14 dorm rooms and four equipment bays for fire safety vehicles. The features impressed those who toured the facility, especially the firefighters and retired firefighters on hand.


"I think I'm going back to work," kidded Leonard, a retired Hesperia fire captain who was elected to the Hesperia City Council in 2004.