After nearly 10 years of planning, the construction of Gainesville Fire Rescue’s new Station 1 has finally begun.
In about nine months, a state- of-the-art fire station in downtown Gainesville, located at 525 S. Main St., will replace the original, outdated Station 1, located at 427 S. Main St., which was built in 1962. In total, the project will cost about $11.7 million, Deputy Fire Chief JoAnne Rice said.
Early Monday morning, city leaders gathered at the construction site to officially break ground on the project.
“One small scoop of dirt, one giant step for Gainesville,” Gainesville Fire Chief Jeff Lane said as firefighters, city commissioners and other community members dug shovels into a symbolic pile of fresh dirt.
In 2013, after about eight years of negotiations between the Gainesville City Commission and GFR staff, the commission voted to relocate and modernize Station 1, according to Alligator archives.
“This project is about 10 years in formation,” Lane said. “It’s passed through at least three fire chiefs’ desks to get here.”
The new station was designed by Bentley Architects and Engineers, Inc. and will be constructed by Gilbane Building Company, Rice said. The facilities are expected to open near the end of February 2018.
Rice said the city and GFR initially had trouble finding a suitable location for the station, which is why the project was delayed for so long.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
The new station will include three firefighter poles, something Station 1 hasn’t had since they were removed during 1990, Rice said.
“For me personally, it was very exciting to know we were finally going to get this started. This is really a once-in-a-career thing for a fire chief, a deputy chief and anyone in the fire department,” she said. “For me to be intimately involved in the design and development is really rewarding.”
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