Construction on the new fire station for the Fairview Fire Department is expected to begin early next year.
The Fairview Heights City Council has approved the plans for the nearly 15,000 square foot building but it will take at least until the end of the year to finish the project drawings, send the project out for bids and finalize all the paperwork before a groundbreaking can be held, Fairview Fire Chief Bryan Doyle said.
The approximately $3.5 million project is not being built with city funds, nor did it require purchasing bonds to fund the construction. Proceeds from the sale or auction of the current firehouse at 626 Lincoln Highway facility will be used to pay the loan.
"It was cheaper for us to get a low-interest loan and we have secured our financing through the Bank of Springfield in Swansea," Doyle said.
The new Engine House No. 2 will be located on a 2.17 acre lot at 214 Ashland Avenue. It is needed because the Fire Department needs a bigger place for larger fire trucks and more parking spaces for volunteer fire staff, Doyle said.
The current building has 12 parking spaces, while the new facility will have 49 parking spaces and two handicapped accessible spaces.
"Under state statute we can deem the property surplus and can auction it off, or we can get an appraisal of the property and then have to sell it for a minimum of 70 percent of the value," Doyle said of the Lincoln Highway facility. "I don't know what we are going to do yet. It will probably be about this time next year and we'll either be selling this engine house or auctioning it, depending on what the market does."
The new station will be more energy efficient, and it will have a room built to withstand an F4 tornado to be used as a tornado shelter and sleeping quarters. The new building also will feature a garage large enough to inspect the vehicles without having to pull them into the parking lot, Doyle said.
The Lincoln Highway building scored a 0.2 on a 10-point structural stability scale during a state seismic study conducted 12 years ago.
The Lincoln Highway facility isn't big enough for the city's newest fire engines and ladder truck, Doyle said. The ceiling isn't high enough to inspect the vehicles inside.
The new station will have a sprinkler system, something the current station does not have. The new location also is in a corridor of the city where there is less traffic, making getting firefighting equipment in and out of the station easier than at the Lincoln Highway location, but is still situated so firefighters can access direct routes throughout the city.
The safe room will provide a secure place for volunteer firefighters during heavy storms and severe weather. When it snows more than three inches, firefighters are paid to sleep at the station to ensure fast response times. Now, firefighters sleep on cots in a meeting room.
"It's a safe haven, but it also adds to a quicker response so we can serve the public," Doyle said.
The Fire Department has approximately 40 volunteer firefighters and three paid positions, including Doyle.
Holland Construction Co., of Swansea, has been selected as the construction manager on the project and FGM Architects Inc., of O'Fallon, designed the new station.
Engine House No. 1, located at 10045 Bunkum Road next to the Fairview Heights Municipal Complex, opened in May 2001.