Construction underway on Boardman’s new fire station
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Construction is underway on the township’s new fire station at Market Street and Stadium Drive.
The long-planned station will replace the main fire station on U.S. Route 224 across from California Avenue.
Bricklayers are putting up walls at the site, and an underground retention system to manage storm water is being installed, said Fire Chief Mark Pitzer. Soon, a drill tower will be built.
Some delays in receiving building materials have pushed back the project’s time line a bit, but Pitzer said he expects it to be done no later than March.
He highlighted some of the other features planned for the building, including living quarters for the firefighters, a fitness room, kitchen, gear room, a large apparatus area for equipment storage, training room (a feature the current main station doesn’t have), and the training tower.
“That feature allows us to do a lot,” he said of the tower. “It’s a very functional feature of the building.”
The new building will solve several problems for the fire department, he said.
For example, he noted the main fire station, which is housed in a century-old building, had to close its fire-prevention office due to mold in the basement. Those employees now work out of the township government building on Market.
“This is going to give us adequate office space,” said Pitzer. “This station gives us what we need to function for the main fire station.”
Pitzer said the new building, at approximately 18,000 square feet, will provide the department with adequate space and some extra room for future changes.
“We want to make sure that we don’t have to come back and add on to the building,” he said. “We want to plan for the next 50 to 75 years.”
Pitzer noted another improvement the new facility will bring: better response times to the township’s south end.
“By moving the location, we’re still centrally located to where the majority of our calls are,” he said. “It places us about 45 to 60 seconds closer to the south end of the township, which is going to improve our response times to the south end where we don’t have a fire station.”
The primary contractor for the project is J. Herbert Construction of Salem, which submitted a low bid of $3.93 million.
Township officials have looked at building a new fire station for several years. Plans started to come together early in 2016, when the township finalized a deal with the school district to swap land.
In exchange for a 4-acre parcel from the township, the school district gave the township the 2-acre parcel on which the station is now being built. The parcel is adjacent to Center Intermediate School.
Also last year, the township sold the land on which the current main fire station sits to a commercial realty company for $1.2 million.
The township recently finalized its financing for the project. The township has taken out a $3 million loan from First National Bank on which it will pay a 2.53 percent interest rate.