One Springfield fire station project is set for completion by July 1, and work will begin shortly on demolition and construction of another along busy Sunshine Street near the new HyVee store.
Fire Chief David Pennington confirmed the construction on Station 7 at 2129 E. Sunshine St. will come after work is completed on Station 4 at 2423 N. Delaware St. Station 4 is both an Engine Company and Light Rescue Company, making use of both available bays.
Eric Latimer, assistant fire chief of emergency services, confirmed Station 4 will be finished by July 1. It just needs a “punch list” completed and LEED certification to operate.
“We walk through with the construction company and then they have time to fix” any remaining issues, Latimer said. “Because it’s such a major project, there are going to be some things that, ‘Hey, we need to tweak this, touch up that.’ As we go along, we monitor it because we’re dealing with the contractor now nearly weekly on these buildings just to make sure that they’re following the plans. Staying within budget and everything.”
The project cost for the new Station 4 is about $3 million. It replaced a station built in 1968.
Latimer said the estimated start date for Station 7 is October to late fall of 2022, to give the City of Springfield time to find a contractor and a construction crew. It will then take a year to complete Station 7.
According to Pennington, the 12-month timeframe for the construction is due to “unforeseen circumstances related to construction or materials delays.”
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Station 7 was built more than 60 years ago in 1958. Pennington said the main point of the construction was to update it for modern use. The total project budget is a little more than $3 million.
“At the time that station was built, the equipment and apparatus were much smaller,” Pennington said. “Providing a station that is centered on functional use and health and safety for our firefighters gives us a little more ability to move our current equipment in and out of the building. So it’d be a two-bay fire station designed to hold one fire engine and 12 personnel.”
Pennington said construction will be coordinated with contractors and architects so as not to block the roadway. Resources from the original building also will be used in the renovations, including original brick from the building being used in the interior.
Station 7 is an Engine Company, housing a single firetruck in its bay. It covers a majority of the Southeast portion of Springfield, stretching from National to almost Highway 65 west to east and Grand Street to Sunset north to south.
Pennington said during construction, the Station 7 crew will be transferred to the nearby Station 3 Truck Company at 205 N Patterson Ave. While Station 7 will not be operable during the construction, Pennington said the Fire Department and the 911 Center will work together to ensure “appropriate coverage” of the area.
According to a July 2021 press release, the Fire Department continues working as promised to improve its facilities using funding provided by the continuation of the Level Property Tax approved by Springfield voters in 2017.
The tax generates about $8.5 million a year, which is allowing the department to replace and renovate outdated fire stations and equipment for the first time in decades, as well as build two brand-new stations — Fire Stations 13 and 14 — over the next several years.
Tinsley Merriman is a general assignment intern at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He’s currently a senior at Missouri State University studying journalism, and most recently worked as section editor of Campus Life for the student-led newspaper The Standard.