Gainesville Fire Rescue Fire Station No. 1 will soon move into an expanded and upgraded building after more than 50 years in the same place.
The new station will be built a block down the street from its current location on 427 S. Main St. on a plot of land at Main Street and Southeast Fifth Avenue. Construction on the station is set to begin in Spring 2016.
The facility will feature poles or slides connecting the first and second story to help firefighters quicken response times. It will also feature a training tower, an air cascade system to fill up air tanks and a decontamination room.
Because it was built in 1962, some of the current station’s features are outdated, said Richard Saulsberry, district chief.
One problem is that firefighters have to use a staircase to get from their sleeping quarters down to the firetrucks.
“Everybody is coming down like a herd of cattle,” Saulsberry said.
GFR is working on a design that will meet the needs of the firefighters and “grow with the times,” said Jeff Lane, chief of GFR.
The station will keep the same staff, but will also have room for some new hires, he said.
GFR is also looking to have an underground room for confined-space training along with a lobby space and training conference room available for community functions, said JoAnne Rice, interim deputy chief.
The new station will also provide public parking for nearby businesses like Citizens Co-op and Civic Media Center, she said.
The city purchased the new lot for $1 million, and the station will cost $6 million, Lane said.
After the move, the old structure will maintain its status as city property. The city will decide how it will be used.