Aberdeen Fire Station Expansion Nearly Finished
Contractors are putting the finishing touches on the expansion of the Aberdeen Fire Department that town officials say will serve the community for years to come.
The expansion will add nearly 5,000 square feet to the current building at a cost of $1.4 million. The extra space will increase the overall size of the building to between 12,000 and 15,000 square feet, according to Town Manager Bill Zell.
The work is contracted to be completed by Dec. 28 but could be finished earlier in the month.
“It’s all starting to come together,” Zell said earlier this week. “I think this is going to be good for our fire guys, for the town and for the entire county.”
Fire Chief Phillip Richardson and his charges are excited about the opportunity to move back into their building and out of the temporary trailer that they have been in since construction started in February.
“I just want to go back to being a fireman,” Richardson said.
The expansion was funded through stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About five weeks before the scheduled completion date, the exterior of the building has been finished.
The heating and air, electrical and plumbing work is finished. All that really remains, Richardson said, is the interior ceilings, flooring and painting before furniture and other equipment can be moved in.
“The meat of the building is done,” Richardson said. “Now it is just down to applying the finishing touches.”
The expansion includes five additional living quarters, 600 square feet of storage space, a room for an emergency operations center (EOC), offices, a training center and a conference room.
Zell is very excited about the fact that the department will have an EOC.
“Now, for every emergency situation, we have an excellent operation center there that is very high-tech,” Zell said.
The operations center will be named for former fire chief Thomas F. Brock.
“It should handle our needs for a long time,” Richardson said.
Over the next few weeks, Richardson will be making a list and checking it twice. On the list are “gifts” such as furniture, paint, plants, flooring, computers, phones, weight equipment and other assorted items that will make the newly renovated station home to the department’s 15 full-time firefighters, one administrative assistant and 40 volunteer firefighters.
Richardson said he expects it will take at least a week to move furnishings and equipment into the building. But there is one thing he really hopes to add to his list.
“I am really hoping to be able to put up a Christmas tree,” he said with a smile. “They keep telling me they are going to have it finished before Christmas, but I don’t think Santa will be that nice to me.”
Outside the building, the parking lot needs to be completed, as does the landscaping.
Work on the project began in February when demolition crews knocked down the side of the existing fire station that faces Peach Street. Since then, firefighters have lived in temporary quarters in a trailer next to the department’s equipment bays.
In the 10 months since construction began, Richardson said the department has taken an active role in helping workers on a variety of projects.
The benefits for the department are twofold, according to Richardson. First, it helps save costs, and second, it builds a sense of ownership.
“We’ve done a lot of work ourselves to save money,” Richardson said. “They (firemen) know it’s theirs, and they are taking a lot of pride in their new house.”
The contractor on the project is Progressive Contract-ing Co., of Sanford, and the architect is John Heckethorn.
The total amount of the project is $1,423,300. The USDA funds will cover $1,144,900, with a grant covering $203,400 and the town paying the other $75,000. The federal funds come from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Richardson said he was thankful for the support of the town commissioners, town employees and residents.
“Everybody has helped so much,” he said. “It’s definitely been a town project and one that Aberdeen can be proud of.”
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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