Lebanon Fire unveils new station design plans

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

Fire Chief Joseph Rodondi presented new plans for the construction of Lebanon Fire District Station 31 on Oak Street during a barbecue gathering held for former and current LFD staff on July 28.

Chief Rodondi talks to colleagues and friends during a July 28 barbecue.

In 2019, voters approved a 26-year $16 million bond to replace the fire station with a structure that will remedy multiple safety issues not in place in the building, which was built in 1975. Construction was expected to begin in late 2020 or early 2021.

But then COVID happened.

“As soon as COVID hit, all the material costs went up 400 percent for electrical, for wood, for any petroleum-based pipes, all of that,” Rodondi said. “Very quickly the budget got blown up.”

Cost estimators could not nail down a reliable number for how much the new building would cost, he said. Then, when prices began dropping, supply chain problems created obstacles. So LFD stepped back and reevaluated the design plans.

With input from LFD, Emerick Construction and architect firm Rice Fergus Miller, Inc., redesigned the new station by stripping off the second floor and expanding it into a single-story structure, Rodondi said. By doing that, they were able to avoid costly needs, such as the installation of a quarter-million dollar elevator for Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Firefighter Desiree Barringer cooks up burgers and hot dogs for current and former LFD staff.

“So we felt the single story would lessen those costs and give us more bang for our buck,” Rodondi said.

Phase one of the rebuild is expected to begin around September 8. Staff will move into temporary trailers on the property and will use the logistics building (a warehouse-type structure behind the station) as the apparatus bay. Station 31 will be razed, as will training structures in the back.

After the new building is complete, staff will move in, and phase two will begin. The logistics building will be torn down, and a new training tower, parking lot and logistics building will be built.

Rodondi said completion of the entire project is estimated to be around late 2023 or early 2024.