The city broke ground Tuesday on a new fire station at Outlaw Field to replace Fire Station No. 7, the existing building located in the way of construction plans for the new airport terminal.
TG Constructors, a Brentwood-based contractor, was awarded the bid on the $1.1 million project, which will relocate the fire station to 425 Tiny Town Road.
But for city officials, it is more than just a simple relocation.
“It’s a tremendous upgrade over the facility that we’re in right now,” Fire Chief Mike Roberts said, pointing to modernized heat and air conditioning units and a brick exterior, instead of a metal one.
Roberts said the biggest benefit is the new facility will be “much more occupant-friendly.” Bunks are separated by wall dividers, and architectural plans include a new storage area for equipment. It’s also expected to provide better access to Tiny Town Road, according to a city news release.
The architect for the project is Violette Architecture/Interior Design. Three engineering firms — K&S Engineering, WBW Engineering and DBs and Associates — have also signed on.
The construction contract has a completion time of 150 days, but Roberts noted it could be subject to change, with work beginning in winter, which often brings weather delays.
The station’s construction has been held up by a variety of red tape, like getting Federal Aviation Administration approval to build on airport property. Another hitch came when the city wanted Bi-County Solid Waste Management to move a nearby convenience center over concerns of collecting trash so close to where firefighters will sleep.
Roberts said Tuesday he received a letter in recent months from Director of Bi-County Solid Waste Management System Pete Reed agreeing to a move late next year. Mayor Johnny Piper and Airport Authority members had previously pressed for the move to allow station and terminal construction to proceed, according to Leaf-Chronicle archives.
Roberts said the FAA has also signed off on the project. That was never in doubt because the current station is already on airport property.