Although frequent spring rains delayed foundation work on the new Truro Township Fire Department Station 161, the walls of the building are now beginning to take shape at 6900 E. Main St.
Fire Chief Jeff Sharps said the construction timeline was revised to move the completion date to mid-January 2019. The building originally was expected to be finished by December.
Truro Township representatives officially broke ground on the project April 9.
Work on the site started in January, however, when the old Station 161 was torn down. At 15,000 square feet, that building was considered the largest in central Ohio when it opened in 1975 in a remodeled J-Mart retail store.
Palmetto Construction is building a new fire station, made possible by a 2.5-mill levy approved in November 2016 that is expected to generate about $1.1 million per year in additional revenue.
The 16,417-square-foot fire building designed by Moody-Nolan architects will cost an estimated $3.7 million.
Truro Township trustee Pat Mahaffey said last week he believes "most of the delays are behind us."
"Weather delays are expected, but we are really happy that the building is underway and the block appears to be almost done," he said. "We did have some issues with the steel, but got what we needed the other day, so that is a good sign for the second-floor construction."
Meanwhile, firefighters normally housed at the Main Street station were assigned to work out of Station 162, built in 2007 at 6305 E. Livingston Ave. Doubling up has meant close quarters for some employees, although another bunkroom was built at that station to house the additional firefighters, Mahaffey said.
"The firefighters have been great about doubling up in Station 162, and our administrators also have temporary offices there," he said. "The crowded conditions are a little difficult, but the firefighters are great comrades in arms.
"The silver lining to all of this is that it has brought us all closer together," he said.
Sharps said the fire department has 43 full-time and 20 part-time employees.
He said the new station will have safety features the old one lacked, including state-of-the-art ventilation systems.
"The ventilation systems would capture vehicle exhaust emissions from fire apparatus to prevent exposure to firefighters and contamination of their living and sleeping areas," he said. "Also, (there will be) a decontamination room, where after fighting a fire, firefighters can clean their gear in an isolated space only used for this purpose."
Once the new station is fully operational, response times could be reduced because new technology will alert firefighters to emergency situations more quickly, Sharps said.
Station 161, when finished, will have three bays and living quarters for nine to 11 firefighters per shift, a modern sprinkler system for fire protection, a training room of about 712 square feet and 728 square feet of administrative offices.
Sharps said the training room could be used for public meetings and education space.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house will be held to celebrate the opening of the new fire station, he said.
"My thought is that the ceremony will be planned for a month after moving in to allow the firefighters to get acclimated to the building and work out any issues that come about when opening a new station," Sharps said.
He said Truro Township tax dollars made it all possible.
"We are always humbled by the overwhelming support of the Reynoldsburg-Truro Township community," he said. "This commitment of their tax dollars will provide a state-of-the-art, safer and more efficient fire station that will allow our firefighters and paramedics to better serve the community.
"This station has been designed to last for many decades into the future," he said.
"We asked the residents of Truro Township to approve the levy and they came through for us," Mahaffey said. "We are ... grateful for their support."
Township Administrator Jason Nicodemus said the fire department serves 38,000 people in Truro Township, the city of Reynoldsburg and the village of Brice.
The department had 7,793 runs in 2017, according to fire department records. Of those, 6,767 were for emergency services and 1,026 were fire runs. Twenty-five percent of the runs were mutual to other departments.