The City of Cleveland broke ground Thursday, Jan. 6, on a new fire station, located on the southeast side of the city at the entrance to the Grand Oaks Reserve community.
Built on land donated by McKinley Development Group – the developer of the Grand Oaks Reserve community, the new fire station will be 12,000 square feet and has been designed to incorporate the latest methods in protecting firefighters while also focusing on public safety.
The $5 million fire station, designed by BRW Architects, Inc., will be built by N & T Construction, Inc. The Beaumont, Texas-based company has a history of fire station, school and commercial construction. Some of the company’s projects include fire stations in Liberty and Orange, and campuses in East Chambers and Port Arthur ISDs.
Previously the City had awarded the bid for construction to LDF Construction of Conroe, but that bid was rescinded at last month’s meeting in favor of N&T Construction’s lower bid.
The new fire station will be a two-story, three-bay building with a brick veneer and board-and-batten siding. It is designed to minimize particulates from traveling into the living quarters of the building. The bunker gear used by firefighters gets contaminated with carcinogens during firefighting that remain on the gear and have been linked to an increase in cancers and other illnesses among firefighters.
Cleveland’s new fire station has been in the works for several years and is needed to address growth that has come to the city in recent years. It is the first new fire station for the city in more than 50 years – the last being the fire station at the corner of Boothe and Bonham streets.
“The station being built will not only meet our current needs, but it has been designed for long-term use to meet the needs of the growing city, surrounding community and the department,” said Fire Chief Sean Anderson. “The current stations we have were designed for the times in which they were built. At that time, the department was volunteer-based. Starting in 2009, the department began moving toward being a combination department, which means we have both volunteers and paid staff.”
The new station should help Cleveland Fire Department improve its ISO ratings, which could in turn lower property insurance costs in the city.
“Our current rating is a 3 on a 1-10 scale with 1 being the best. The last time we were evaluated, some of the items listed were the need for additional stations, to move those stations further apart for better coverage and the need for additional personnel,” Anderson said. “Through the help and encouragement of McKinley Development Group, by donated this property, we are able to move the station to more than a couple of blocks away like they were previously.”
In the near future, the design for the new station will be replicated at a third firehouse on the west side of town, likely along Fostoria Road, said City Manager Bobby Pennington.
“We are going to see tremendous growth over the next five years. We have it in our capital improvement plan for 2024 or 2025 [to build the third fire station],” he said.
Mayor Richard Boyett, in his remarks at the groundbreaking, said that eventually a police substation will be needed on the west side of the city.
“We want to extend our thanks to the McKinley Development Group, which is Grand Oaks, for giving us this property. It’s going to work great for them and for us. This is going to be such an improvement. Our guys deserve a nice place to work from,” Boyett said. “We will be looking at bigger and better things every day. It will be vital to our growing community.”
Construction is expected to begin in earnest in the coming days. The fire station should be ready within 12-18 months, weather permitting.