In anticipation of a potential shortage in construction laborers, work on Fire Station No. 9 is expected to commence by June 2018. This schedule is based on the project timeline revealed by South Bend Fire Department chief Steve Cox during a River Park neighborhood meeting held Dec. 14.
The new station is slated to be built at the southeast corner of Mishawaka Ave. and 21st St. The two-story building will feature three bays larger than the current station’s, which are too small to accommodate modern fire trucks and ambulances.
Aside from a fitness room, Fire Station No. 9 will also include separate living quarters for male and female firefighters. When the existing station was built in 1926, there were no women serving the department and therefore, no space had been appropriated for these firefighters. However, the current team has several female members who need to be housed in gender-exclusive quarters.
Construction of this new facility will start after the project site has been cleared of existing structures. Demolition work has been scheduled for completion by January 2018.
According to Cox, work is expected to take nine to 12 months to finish. However, this timetable is dependent on weather conditions and the availability of construction workers as the area is currently experiencing an influx of new building projects.
“We’re hoping [to start in] April but I can’t guarantee that because of construction concerns,” he said. “Can the contractor mobilize by then? We hope so, but it may actually be June before we can start.”
The designer of the project is Epoch Architecture and Planning.