Nearing completion: Work on new Fire Station No. 3 to wrap up this month

A construction crew pours cement for a bell monument in front of what will soon be the new Fire Station No. 3 on Wednesday, Dec. 11. The facility, 308 Culberson St., is replacing the current Fire Station No. 3 at 115 E. Pecan St.

Gainesville’s new Fire Station No. 3 should be finished by the end of the year, Gainesville Fire-Rescue Chief Wayne Twiner recently told city council members.

The project is “85% complete,” Twiner said, with some painting, concrete work and flooring remaining. Its current completion date is set for Dec. 27, he said, but once weather and the Christmas holiday is factored in that’s likely to mean the city will take possession at the beginning of 2020.

“Then we’ve got some permitting and inspections from the state, and hopefully we’ll be moving in first of February,” Twiner told council members at their Dec. 4 meeting.

This week, construction crews were pouring cement for a bell monument in front of the new station. The monument will house the bell from the original fire station, Twiner said. The bell is mounted in front of the 100-year-old building at 115 E. Pecan St. that currently serves as Fire Station No. 3.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 11, Twiner was unsure when the bell would be moved but estimated it would probably be in the “next couple of weeks.”

Ground was broken on the 8,000-square-foot facility at 308 Culberson St. in January to replace the two-story building on Pecan Street.

“Council has not made any final decisions about the current Fire Station No. 3 at this time,” City Manager Barry Sullivan said.

The new station includes two 80-foot-long garage bays which are long enough to “double-stack” fire apparatus in, Twiner told council members. It also has a fitness room, a kitchen, a dining room, three bunk rooms, lockers, and unisex showers and restrooms.

The facility will be supported by a backup generator, he said.

A set of solid bay doors on the back of the garage have been temporarily installed to secure the building, Twiner said. However, a set of garage bay doors with glass in them has been ordered to take their place.

Earlier this year, Twiner said the new station was expected to have its certificate of occupancy Nov. 18. He said an issue with the facility’s piers set back the project by 10 days. In addition, the weather has been a factor, Twiner said.

“We are very excited,” Twiner said of the station getting closer to opening.

Monies for the new station were derived from an issuance and sale of nearly $7.4 million in tax and revenue certificates of obligation that council members passed a resolution on in January 2018. About $2.7 million of the city-approved debt is to go toward replacing the downtown station, according to a previous report in the Register.

In December 2018, members of the Gainesville City Council unanimously approved a nearly $2.2 million construction contract with Schmoldt Construction. Earlier in 2018, Sullivan received approval from council members to ink a deal with Sanger-based Eikon Consulting Group LLC to provide engineering and architectural services for the new firehouse.

The city has three fire stations. Station No. 1 is at 201 Santa Fe St. and Station No. 2 is at 200 N. Clements St.

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