St. Robert's new firehouse has an expected completion date of May 2017.
After three years of planning and negotiating, construction for a new firehouse is under way and by May 2017 (projected completion date) St Robert Firefighters will be able to sleep, eat and work out of the new firehouse.
The new firehouse will have 2 deep bays which will house the ladder truck, and 4 bays for the 2 engine trucks, brush truck and 2 hazmat trucks. Inside will be full kitchen, separate living quarters for male and female firefighters, a storage area, and a classroom.
Until the firehouse is ready, firefighters will continue to live in nearby rented apartments. During the building and renovation, two bays, at the current location, will be used for the ladder truck and engine truck, the pumper and tanker will be at the Foxworth location and two trucks will be temporarily housed by the Public Works Department.
The firehouse has been a landmark in St Robert since the 1950’s. In 2003, after the completion of the new municipal center on East Lawn, the police department and administrative offices moved out and the fire department took over the old city building. In 2012-13 the city council went and looked at the old firehouse and saw that it was in very bad shape. The old building was torn down and the plan was to build a new fire house.
For three years the council tried to put together a plan for a new firehouse, going back and forth with the engineer to get what they wanted, but the design cost was 1.2 million. A price the city felt was way over budget. In 2014 the council approved a new firehouse, with the design not to exceed eight hundred thousand dollars.
In 2015, after looking at the design, the council, emergency service committee and engineer lowered the design price to six hundred thousand. The council began to prepare to accept bids for the new firehouse. In November of 2016, they accepted and approved a bid from Bales for eight hundred and forty three thousand dollars.
To finance the new firehouse, the City of St Robert received a zero percent interest loan from the Department of Agriculture for six hundred thousand and two hundred thousand in cash from the general revenue fund.
Ground was broken about a month ago in November. Seventy five percent of the construction is new. The existing 2 bays will be re-skinned, meaning that new metal siding will be applied all the way around the existing structures.
Relationships between the City of St Robert and the Fire Department began shifting about eighteen months ago and according to the mayor of St Robert, George Lauriston, “are good now.”
In November, the fire department received a new fire truck. In 2017, firefighters can look forward to another new truck and a “well deserved “firehouse where they can work, live and learn.
The new firehouse is a "significant improvement for city firefighters, which is well-deserved," Lauritson said.