Truro Township Fire Station 161 at 6900 E. Main St. was demolished last week, clearing the way for a new and improved facility that is expected to be fully operational by early next year.

"We hope to begin construction by Feb. 13," fire chief Steve Hein said.

An excavator owned by Loewendick Demolition bit into the 52-year old building early Jan. 10, depositing twisted metal beams, drywall and concrete into piles to be recycled.

Loewendick supervisor Mike Ratzlaff said some of the bricks from the front of the building will be saved for use on the outside of the new fire station, but other materials will be recycled.

"We try to recycle whatever we can," he said. "Even the concrete will be crushed up into gravel."

First built as a J Mart department store in 1965, the building was remodeled and opened as Reynoldsburg's main fire station in 1975. Although it was remodeled again in 1993, Station 161's roof was leaking by early last year.

The building also lacked modern safety features, such as a separate space for turnout gear -- the equipment firefighters wear to fire scenes -- and adequate ventilation, Hein said.

Voter approval of a 2.5-mill levy in November 2016 allowed the department to begin plans for the new fire station. The levy is expected to generate about $1.1 million per year in additional revenue.

Truro Township trustees appropriated $50,000 last year to pay Moody Nolan Architects to design the 16,400-square-foot facility, which is expected to cost about $3.6 million, Hein said.

Meanwhile, the station's 45 firefighters and paramedics been relocated to the newer Station 162, built in 2007 at 6305 E. Livingston Ave.

"We relocated all the fire staff to the Livingston Avenue fire station and built a bunk room for the additional folks," Hein said.

He said the administrative staff, which includes the township road department, township officials, himself, the assistant chief and fire prevention staff, was moved into leased space at 6200 Eastgreen Blvd.

The new fire station will be built by Palmetto Construction. The work is expected to take at least nine months to complete.

"It should be fully operational by beginning of next year," Hein said. "We feel really good about the design. Safety features like exhaust removal and storing fire gear in a closed, separated area are included."

Township officials approved a photographic documentation agreement with Multivista for $4,350 in December to film and document the project.

In addition, the township purchased a camera for $3,400 and will pay Multivista $399 per month for 10 months -- a total of $7,390 -- to provide a live webcam view of the construction project.

A link to the webcam may be accessed from the Truro Township Fire Department Facebook page.

The department provides firefighting and emergency medical services to the city of Reynoldsburg, the village of Brice and Truro Township.