Plan will add more space to the sleeping area, living spaces and workout room
James Mayse, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.
Jun. 7—The Owensboro Fire Department will expand the size of its east side station, with the work beginning this year, and is studying how to modernize its fire training center at 14th and Daviess streets.
City Fire Chief James Howard said the department will expand the size of Station 2 on East Parrish Avenue to accommodate the firefighters who have been assigned there to cover the east, particularly Kentucky 54.
When the station was built about 20 years ago, four firefighters and an engine were assigned there. But, as Kentucky 54 developed, the need for additional firefighters there was noted, and a “quint” fire vehicle (a combination pumper truck, with a 75 foot ladder) was added, as well as two more firefighters per shift, in 2019.
“The station was designed for four people,” Howard said. With six, “it was getting a little crowded.”
The renovation will expand the fire station by about 1,200 square feet, adding more space to the sleeping area, living spaces and workout room.
While planning for the movement or replacement of fire stations is part of OFD’s long-range planning, Station 2 can be renovated and serve its purpose.
“Station 2 is in a good place, and it’s only 20 years old,” Howard said.
“We have been finalizing the floor plans,” Howard said.
“Right now, the hope is they can start around August or early September,” Howard said, and possibly by “early next year, the project will be finished.”
Assistant City Manager Lelan Hancock said officials are finalizing drawings and bid specifications, and will be ready to bid out the project in July.
It’s “is something we need to do to accommodate our firefighters,” Hancock said.
What could affect the cost of the project would be the increased cost of building materials, Hancock said.
Construction firms are busy, but the project was one that should appeal to some contractors, he said.
“It’s not a total station rebuild, but it is a pretty significant remodel,” Hancock said.
The fire training center recently underwent a study by a consultant.
“It’s an aging facility,” Howard said, adding that the training tower and the burn room don’t meet “modern standards.”
“It’s time to invest in something newer,” he said.
Hancock said the consultants looked at a number of factors, such as whether the training center should stay in its current location or be moved elsewhere.
“They are looking at multiple areas around town to best serve our needs,” Hancock said. Officials will move ahead with hiring an architect and the engineering process after the new fiscal year starts on July 1.
City officials are reviewing the final report from the consultants, Hancock said, and they will determine “what is the best approach.”
Renovations on the department’s older stations, Station 1, Station 3 and Station 4, will likely take place in the next three to five years, Howard said.
“Our stations are still functional, and our training center is still viable,” Howard said. But the oldest stations are approaching 50 years old and will need renovations, he said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse
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