In addition to highlighting Fire Station #2 on South Limestone Street, Heck offered commissioners an update on the status of all four fire station projects planned over the next few years.
“The last new fire station we built was in 1981, and there have been a lot of changes to equipment, apparatus and personnel since then,” Heck said. “We closed the #3 station on Selma Road because the door height was too low for one of the fire engines to be housed inside. The workforce has also changed, with more women in EMS/EMR roles, requiring an update to amenities more appropriate for a diversified workforce.”
Funding for the major investment in safety infrastructure comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The renewal of the city’s .4% income tax by residents will also enable the updating of equipment and purchase of new ambulances, significantly enhancing emergency services and safety for community residents.
The innovative and collaborative Fire Station #2, the first to launch, located at 2040 S. Limestone, involves the city and Clark State College, each contributing to the cost of the facility. The shared structure will enable Clark State to offer classes and training in part of the building while the facility houses fire equipment and improved privacy and safety for emergency workers. Estimated cost for the facility is $6.7 million, with Clark State contributing $1.35 million toward the facility.
In addition to separate entrances and areas to accommodate Clark State Students and city emergency personnel, the new station will include five bays and a center mezzanine that will enable rope and ladder training for both groups. Individual dorm-like room settings will allow for privacy of city fire personnel, with common areas available in each dedicated space for students and city workforce. There is a fitness room available, and decontamination and locker rooms are separated from living quarters to minimize undue exposure to diesel fuel and other contaminants.
Heck displayed architectural renderings for the first time of the three other new fire stations planned for construction, all of which share similarities in design and layout but some offering unique distinctions. All are designed to have pull-through bays, eliminating the necessity to back engines up, potentially creating a traffic hazard. Projected cost for the three additional stations is estimated $4-4.6 million each.
Fire Station #3, which will replace the recently closed Selma Road structure, will be a four-bay station, with one of those bays reserved for Box 27, which partners with the city by providing water, food and oxygen support for firefighters at fire sites. The building will be large enough to support all equipment and will also include common areas, fitness center, and individual bed and bath facilities for firefighters. It will be located at 811 Burt St.
The new fire station planned for 3925 South Charleston Pike was recommended by the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association after a study of city needs. The location will provide faster response time in the quickly growing eastern sector of the city. Unique to this facility is an onsite police substation to support law enforcement partners also serving the area.
The new structure planned for the city’s west side will be located at 100 Zischler Street with three engine bays and layout similar to the other facilities.
“There is an economy of scale achieved with all of the facilities sharing similar design features,” Heck said. “The same contractor will be working on all and can also achieve efficiencies and economic advantages in scheduling of the work.”
Existing Fire stations #1 at 350 N. Fountain Ave. and #7 at 437 E. Home Road will continue in service at their current locations, but improvements or relocation will eventually be implemented.
Heck said city residents will benefit from faster run and response times across the city with locations strategically selected to better meet the needs of the city’s current population.