Delaware's newest fire station is taking shape at Cheshire Road and Glenn Parkway and is expected to be operational in January.

"Work is progressing well," said fire Chief John Donahue.

"Exterior work is continuing, with the limestone facade being installed, as well as work on the drives and parking area. Work continues on the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems on the interior. We are looking forward to getting this station open to better serve our community," he added.

The new building, constructed in response to the growing population on the city's southeast side, will be Station 304. The city earlier said its design and layout will be almost identical to Station 303, which was built in 2013 on West Central Avenue.

The contractor is Delaware-based 2K General Co., which also built Station 303.

Red brick will be installed once the exterior limestone is complete. Donahue said the public can follow the building's progress on the department's Twitter account, @DelawareOhioFD.

A dedication and open house will be scheduled when the station becomes operational, he said.

He said the department is budgeted to have 65 full-time and nine part-time employees when the new station opens.

As of Sept. 5, three full-time jobs and some of the part-time positions remained open, Donahue said.

"We are currently in a testing process to add candidate names to our civil-service full-time and part-time lists. We expect to update the list at the October civil service meeting," he said.

Delaware voters in 2010 increased the city income tax by 0.3 percent to support fire services.

"This is the last item we needed to accomplish as part of our commitment with the 2010 fire levy," Donahue said. "This funding has allowed us to add two fire stations, replace our aging fleet -- including a 31-year-old ladder truck -- and hire needed personnel. Our funding will allow us to sustain and grow as our city grows without seeking an additional fire levy."

Four new full-time employees joined the department in March. In February, two part-timers were moved to full time.

The city earlier estimated the new station's construction costs at around $4 million.

Thanks to the additions and improvements, Donahue said, the department has increased its Insurance Service Office Public Protection Classification to a 2, the second-highest rating.

"We are in the top 97 percent of all fire departments nationwide," he said.

The station will provide coverage to the city's southeast quadrant, where "the city is seeing continued growth, with substantial growth expected in coming years," city spokesman Lee Yoakum said earlier.

A prime goal is to improve response times to the southeast, Donahue said, reducing them to six minutes.

Current response times to that area from Station 301 at 99 S. Liberty St. and Station 302 at 683 Pittsburgh Drive average nine to 10 minutes, he said.

Mutual aid from the nearby Berlin Township Fire Department exceeds six minutes to arrival, Donahue said.

The city's fourth station will sit on land northwest of the roundabout intersection at Cheshire and Glenn.

The city in 2017 annexed most of the site from Liberty Township. The city earlier annexed the rest of the 4.1-acre site when Glenn Parkway was constructed.

The station is west of Cheshire Elementary School and inside the Olentangy Local School District.

The city's fire stations each have a "30" prefix, in part, to identify the city in radio transmissions, Yoakum said.

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