Weather plagues progress on Jess Lyons fire station

July 7, 2014 10:21:16 AM

Nathan Gregory - [email protected]


Harsh, damp winter weather coupled with an unusually wet June has had an effect on the progress of numerous local construction projects.  


The new fire station on Jess Lyons Road is no different.  


Last November, Lowndes County Volunteer Fire Department was given the green light to demolish the old building to make way for one that was big enough to house the larger trucks being built today in compliance with federal guidelines.  


The new building shell for the 6,900-square-foot, four-bay structure currently sits in the District 2 road barn. It will remain there until the clay gravel foundation is declared stable enough to lay down the concrete slab for the building to sit on.  


County fire services coordinator Sammy Fondren said after the clay gravel was brought in and spread out, the weight of it pushed groundwater up in several places. If the concrete slab had been placed on top of the surface at the time the weak spots were discovered, it would have begun to crack quickly after the building was set on it.  


"We figured it would be six months." Fondren said. "The rain set it and it killed us. We couldn't do anything with it." 


County engineer Bob Calvert advised waiting until the water table dropped before re-evaluating the surface's ability to support the slab and building. Supervisors authorized him to have post holes dug around the perimeter of the surface and near the weak spots he identified to provide a stronger base and resolve any issues that could lead to structural problems.  


"With time, it's getting better," Calvert said. "It's stable to the point where I don't think the building would fall or cause any real problems." 


Fondren said he hoped workers could be pouring concrete starting this week after last week being relatively dry, helping to drop the water table. He said District 2 firefighters are eager to finally get the new building up, as the equipment the old one housed is being temporarily stored at other locations in the district, including the other two fire stations. 


The county owns the property and building. Between rebate money LCVFD saved up for the station and county millage, the project will cost about $200,000 when finished.

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.