COLLINSVILLE — The Northside Fire Station got a facelift and is now a bit more comfortable for the firefighters who live there while on duty.
Improvements on the building at 1160 Belt Line Road started in late summer and cost just over $201,000, slightly over the $200,000 budget originally approved by the City Council.
Unforeseen asbestos abatement pushed the total cost over the original budget, city officials said.
"You always hate to go over, but we came very close," said Fire Chief Mark Emert. "If we had not run into the asbestos, we would have come in under budget."
The station was originally built in 1966 and is the oldest fire station in the city. It serves the northern portion of Collinsville and serves as a second home to the firefighters assigned there. Three firefighters are always on shift and ready to man the fire truck and ambulance housed at the station.
"Way back in the day it was designed for two guys," Emert said. "As the department has grown, we added a third person. We had a bunk room that only fit two guys, we had one guy on a trundle bed that pulled down out of the wall in the living space. That was uncomfortable and inconvenient."
The new addition includes a new bunk room area, updated, ADA accessible restroom and a workout area. The old bunk area was converted to an office area.
"The old space was really, really bad," Emert said. "They were eating next to the restroom. It was terrible."
Emert said the department is planning an open house for the newly remodeled building, but a date has not yet been set.
The station remained completely operational during the remodel, not including the two days it was closed for crews to do asbestos abatement. During those two days, the firefighters and equipment moved to the city's main fire station on South Clinton Street.
Contact reporter Jennifer A. Schaaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2667.