August 19, 2013 9:22:03 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Supervisors gave Lowndes County Volunteer Fire Department the OK on Thursday to begin the process of building a new station on Jess Lyons Road.
The first step will be to solicit estimates on having the current one demolished before seeking bids on a contractor to build the new station on the same site.
County fire services coordinator Sammy Fondren said he's not sure exactly how old the current one is, but it's a lot older than the county's practice of keeping an inventory of all its property and equipment.
Between millage and rebate money, LCVFD has funds set aside for the cost of removal and construction, which should be in the neighborhood of $170,000-$210,000.
The building is clearly aging and District 2 is long overdue for an updated facility on Jess Lyons Road, Fondren said.
"The building itself has deteriorated to where the metal siding and the roofing is so thin that we're having continuous roof leaks. The station can accommodate the equipment that's in there, but we do have some that's double stacked," Fondren said. "What we're wanting to do is expand the size of the building and make sure we've got adequate training space, restrooms and showers. We're basically copying the newer stations that are being put in like in District 3 (the Bill McCord station in New Hope). It's just basically updating to accommodate the new and changing world of firefighting."
This is one of now three major overhauls LCVFD is overseeing. In District 1, the county acquired land for a new main fire station in Caledonia that would eventually relocate the facility in a location with less traffic and provide space for volunteers to train and conduct hose tests without a temporary shutdown of the town's water supply. Earlier this year, supervisors approved LCVFD to start work on a new fire house in the Rural Hill community in District 3.
"Something new stirs interest in the general public," Fondren said. "We try to partner with the community. We try to get people to be involved. The size of the building, obviously because of the industry standards with the fire trucks, trucks are no longer small and sleek. They're more bulky because of all the standards the federal government places on this. The trucks are getting larger but the station is not getting larger unless we build a new station."
The new facility on Jess Lyons Road will be a four-bay station with training space, an office and break room, Fondren said. If there is a shortfall on funding for construction, the department will borrow money from the county as in the past for trucks and what is borrowed will be placed back on a payout schedule, he said.
"I don't think we're going to have to go down that road on this station," Fondren said.
District 2 comprises of two other fire stations on Caledonia-Kolola Road and Wolfe Road.
Calls to District 2 Fire chief Andy Perkins for comment were not returned as of press time.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.