Construction to begin on new fire hall

Xavier Smith • Apr 21, 2017 at 6:39 PM

Construction is set to begin on the city’s latest fire hall next week as a groundbreaking ceremony is set for Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the build site.

The Lebanon Fire Hall No. 4 will be at E. Division Street and State Route 109. Henry and Hank McCall donated the land in front of Wilson Bank & Trust to the city last year.

Lebanon fire Chief Chris Dowell said the location would bring a much-needed station to the western end of the city and the ability to control the traffic light at the intersection to have easy access onto State Route 109.

The council, city officials and Dowell decided to alter the fire hall design in 2015 after the original round of bids featured estimated costs of $2.4 million and $2.5 million, which were about $1 million more expensive than the earliest estimated costs.

Dowell made several changes to the previously bid fire hall design that altered the fire hall to an 8,500-square-foot, two-bay station from an 11,000-square-foot, three-bay hall that was originally bid.

Dowell previously said the absence of a fire station near the area could be a reason it hasn’t seen much industrial and business growth, noting the area has a higher Insurance Services Office or ISO rating than the rest of the city.

Businesses would pay higher insurance premiums due to the area’s low ISO rating. 

ISO ratings are based on the distance and response time, among other factors, for a fire department to respond to a particular location. An ISO of five is generally considered acceptable, where as an ISO of 10 is considered to have no fire protection, and higher ratings mean higher premiums.

The area currently has an ISO rating of nine, and the new hall would lower the rating to four or less.

Lebanon Finance Commissioner Robert Springer said it would cost about $750,000 to staff the station with nine full-time and six part-time people, and just more than $1 million to staff the station with 15 full-time people.

Dowell said it would take about 300 days to build the fire station and said his concern with staffing revolves around the potential for new businesses and residential neighborhoods to spring up in the next few years.

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