Preparations deepen for new fire station

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Vernon Township’s new fire station, shown in this rendering, is coming to the southwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road and County Road 900N.

Submitted image

McCORDSVILLE — Plans are heating up for Vernon Township’s latest fire station.

Design work continues on the facility with construction slated to start in the coming months. It will be the second modern fire station in recent years for the township as officials there work to keep public safety up to speed with the area’s growth.

The new station will be located near the southwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road and County Road 900N in McCordsville. The township bought the land from Greenfield-based Pride Investment Partners, which is developing a Leo’s Market & Eatery just to the east of the future station.

Jamison Sills, a partner with Indianapolis-based Delv Design, which is working with Vernon Township on the project, said the design process is about halfway complete.

“Obviously it’s a tight, compact site,” he said. “We have to provide good access and egress for the fire apparatus onto the site, and more importantly exiting the site quickly, as well as parking for the firefighters and the visitors.”

Fire trucks and ambulances will leave the station onto County Road 900N and return via another drive off 900 that will loop around to the back of the station to its three pull-through bays.

Vernon Township Fire Chief Chad Abel said the bays will be built to have the capability of housing up to a fire engine, ladder truck and ambulance. While the township does not yet have a ladder truck in its fleet, officials expect one will be needed in the near future, especially with plans for four-story buildings in Fortville and McCordsville.

At over 13,000 square feet, the station will have a kitchen, dining room, fitness room, offices and a decontamination room, among other areas. It will also have 10 bunk rooms.

A floor plan for the new fire station coming to McCordsville is divided into an array of areas designed to accommodate emergency personnel.  Submitted image

McCordsville’s current fire station isn’t capable of housing firefighters for extended stays, but does have a modular home on its grounds to provide 24/7 on-station coverage in town until the new station is built.

Abel said his goal since discussions started on the new station is for it to stand the test of time with little to no modification necessary in the future. That hasn’t always been the case throughout his career before coming to Vernon Township.

“My experience has been oftentimes we build a firehouse for what we need now, and by the time we are in it, we’re wishing it would’ve been larger, and within a few years you’ve outgrown it,” Abel said. “This facility should serve this community as long as it’s necessary to be there.”

Officials do expect, however, that another station elsewhere in McCordsville will eventually be necessary to accommodate the area’s projected growth.

“Our town’s going to require two stations,” said Greg Brewer, a McCordsville Town Council member who represents the town on the Vernon Township Fire Protection Territory Board. “It’s not an ‘if’, it’s just a ‘when.’”

Sills noted the exterior materials planned for the McCordsville station are similar to those used at Vernon Township’s fire station in Fortville, creating uniformity for the fire department.

Rob Wohlschlaeger, a project manager with Indianapolis-based Garmong Construction, said construction is targeted to ramp up in June.

Florence May, Vernon Township trustee, said it’s too early to estimate when the station will be completed.

The total project cost is estimated at over $6.5 million. Fortville’s and McCordsville’s town councils voted last year to allow the Vernon Township Fire Protection Territory Board to take on debt not exceeding its current levy ceiling to fund the station.

It will follow a fire station finished in Fortville in 2019 that’s also able to accommodate 24/7 on-station coverage.

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