By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Construction on the final of five new fire stations in New Smyrna Beach began with a ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday, April 9. The project is expected to take nearly a year to complete at a cost of $2.86 million.
The new fire station will be at 1400 State Road 44 next to the Tire Kingdom. It will replace the aging Faulkner Street fire station, which is expected to increase the efficiency of the Fire Department. "This is a more strategic location for future planning and growth," Fire Chief Dave McCallister said. "By relocating crews from the Faulkner Street station to S.R. 44, they will be able to respond more quickly within their coverage area and when assisting another station, other cities or Volusia County."
Mayor Adam Barringer kicked off the ceremony for a new fire station on S.R. 44 by thanking the fire department and other city officials for their efforts in finalizing the project. He also congratulated the contractor, APM Construction, on putting together a nice bid for the project and APM Construction's work on a recently completed fire station for the city.
Firefighter Roy Hodgins said, "We are looking forward to it. It's been a long time coming."
Nearly all of the New Smyrna Beach Fire Department plus a few retired firefighters were able to attend the ceremony and participate. Mayor Barringer, several city officials and representatives from APM Construction also assisted in breaking the ground during the ceremony.
The 11,500-square-foot fire station is expected to be completed by April 2014. Chief McCallister said, "This is the final piece of the puzzle."
He added the NSB Fire and Rescue Department serves 40-square miles using the same number of stations that existed more than 30 years ago. During his speech he thanked past city officials and the community for having the foresight to build with the future in mind and feels the new stations will help the department operate more efficiently.
"We're constructing a building design that's proven to work well for our fire crews," the fire chief said.
The project is the final part of a public safety project begun in 2004 when voters approved an $18.3 million in general obligation bonds for public safety projects and sidewalks, according to Khalid Resheidat, assistant city manager. Other projects that have been completed include three other fire stations and the new police department building. The city also has prioritized several sidewalk segments around the city to be constructed after the fire station is complete, which will be funded by the general obligation bonds.