Construction kicks off on new Medford fire station
Construction is underway on one of two new fire stations slated for Medford.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday for a 10,000-square-foot structure at Station No. 2's new address, 1107 Stewart Ave. The new building will be able to house up to two engine companies and will have an on-site training room. Fire officials estimate the cost for both stations will be about $7.5 million, paid from the city's Public Safety Fund, which comes from utility-bill fees.
"It's kind of like a big sigh of relief. We're finally here doing this," said Medford Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fish. "To be able to just finally say we're ready to go moving forward is exciting for us."
The station is expected to be complete by February 2017. The department wanted to build three new stations, but the third station is on hold due to a budgetary shortfall.
"When the bids came back, with the change in the economy, we missed the mark," Fish said. "So rather than try to force it ... we said, 'Let's hold off on one of the stations.' We picked our two critical ones and are moving forward on those."
Medford Fire-Rescue's previous Station No. 2 was built in 1951 at the corner of Lincoln and Eighth streets.
"It served the community well. It was close to downtown," Fish said. "But over the years, it's gotten a lot of use. Our equipment's changed, our needs have changed. We found out that we were having diesel fumes that our people were breathing. It was not only going into the dorms and the living area, but it was going into the ventilation system."
Medford's growth also contributed to the need for a new station, and it should help lower response times, officials said.
"It's an overall better thing for the department," Medford City Manager Bill Hoke told people who attended the groundbreaking.
Fish said the new facility can be adapted to meet demands caused by continued city growth, and it will be valuable as a multi-use facility in the event of a natural disaster.
"The station we had before did not meet those standards at all, so that's a big deal for us," Fish said. "If something catastrophic were to happen in the area, this is supposed to still be standing."
The second new station, Station No. 4, will be built at 2208 Table Rock Road. Groundbreaking for that facility is scheduled for April 26, with a completion date in mid-February 2017.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email@example.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.