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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — San Jose city leaders held a virtual groundbreaking on Wednesday for the construction of the city’s 34th fire station located in Willow Glen.

The new addition, Fire Station 37, is expected to be fully built by 2022 near the intersection of Lincoln and Curtner avenues.

“I am thrilled to be breaking ground at our new station.

The placement of Fire Station 37 … will improve SJFD’s ability to respond quickly to emergencies and will ease demand on surrounding high call volume stations,” Fire Chief Robert Sapien said. “We look forward … to building San Jose’s most modern and efficient station ever.”

The funding for the new station came from Measure T, a public safety and infrastructure bond that was passed by 70 percent of San Jose voters in 2018.

San Jose Fire Station 37 groundbreaking (screenshot by Jana Kadah)

“When we went to the ballot in 2018 we went with a very straightforward proposition that you entrust us with your dollars and we will deliver critical resources that we need in order to keep you safer, to keep you healthier and that includes everything from fire stations to flood protection,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

The council authorized a total of $11.8 million to build five fire stations in the next four to six years. Fire Station 37 is the first of the five stations.

“Our community has been asking for this project since the early 2000s and has seen many obstacles since then,” Councilmember Dev Davis said.

Davis represents the Willow Glen area and was one of the main advocates to ensure Station 37 was part of the Measure T funding, Liccardo said.

“During my term I am so happy that we were able to secure funds … this fire station is important to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods now more than ever,” Davis said. “A new fire station in this neighborhood not only helps response times in this area, but also throughout the city.”

Sapien agreed and said the placement of Fire Station 37 is really ideal, as it is the “highest need station based on several studies for a couple decades.”

The additional staff and fire engines will also help with wildfire mitigation and response.

“In the big picture, every engine is a part of that support network and enables us to respond throughout the state,” Sapien said. “The additional personnel that will be hired to staff Station 37 will help reinforce the ability to provide that kind of mutual aid.”

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‘We’ve got quite a challenge facing us right now,': Ft. Sam Houston ISD director reflects on virtual learning

Education facilities across the world and right here in San Antonio are facing unique challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s unclear if or when it will come to an end.

The pandemic is unpredictable and some area educators believe there will be lasting, long-term effects on teaching.

Dr. Roland Rios, director of technology with Ft. Sam Houston ISD, joined Leading SA Sunday morning to discuss his district’s current situation.

“Because we’re at Fort Sam Houston, all of our students are military dependents. So not only are they dealing with this pandemic, but many of them are [from] New York City. They’ve moved here over the summer. They haven’t had the chance to experience San Antonio in all its glory with everything closed... Add to that the mix of online learning with in-person instruction. We’ve got quite a challenge facing us right now,” Dr. Rios said.

Ft. Sam Houston ISD is now in a hybrid learning system. Dr. Rios said so far, the learning system seems to be working efficiently, but this virtual learning could change teaching forever.

“I think once all of this COVID is over, and we know it will be one day, and we have those children and their beautiful smiling faces back with us face-to-face, I think teachers, administrators, students, parents, they’re going to realize that education isn’t necessarily bound by the four walls of a building," Dr. Rios said.

For now, Dr. Rios said his district has launched a website for teachers and students that helps navigate their virtual learning.

“We’ve developed a website for our teachers called ‘Teach Anywhere.’ We’ve got a website for our students called ‘Learning Anywhere.’ We are constantly reaching out to our teachers within our district, how to use technology. We’re producing tutorial videos, handouts, anything that we can to give them that just in time training to get that knowledge when they need it,” Dr. Rios said.

You can view the full Leading SA interview with Dr. Rios in the video player above.

Read also:

‘We’re in trouble right now,’ Chamber of Commerce CEO says of San Antonio’s coronavirus-stricken economy

‘I feel very confident,’: SAISD Superintendent says on students' return to the classroom after Labor Day

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