Construction is expected to begin “sometime in early summer” on three new fire stations, Moore’s fire chief confirmed Monday.

Fire Chief Charles Stephens said city officials have signed off on the design of Station No. 1 and two smaller substations and hope to let bids for construction this spring.

“We were originally looking at March for the bids,” Stephens said. “But to be honest with you, I think it’s going to be more around May.”

Once the bids are accepted, he said, construction should start “about six weeks later.”

“We’re hoping to begin construction by mid-June,” Stephens said.

Funded by money generated from a new 1/4-cent city public safety sales tax, the fire stations will replace three aging facilities and equalize fire protection to all four quadrants of the city.

About $6 million of the $10 million raised by the sales tax will be used to pay for improvements to the fire department.

Those costs include:

• $1,581,000 for construction for Station No. 1.

• $973,000 for equipment for the new fire station.

• $213,000 for furnishings for the station.

• $2,203,540 to relocate the city’s two substations.

• $246,278 in furnishing for the substations.

• $232,000 in architecture and engineering fees.

“Station No. 1 will also include the department’s administrative offices,” he said.

At almost 20,000 square feet, about 7,500 feet of the facility would be used to house the department’s eight fire trucks, Stephens said. The remaining space would be used for administrative offices and the fire station.

Station No. 1 would be at 19th Street and Fritz Boulevard.

Two additional 8,500-foot substations also would be built, he said.

“All the stations will be identical in design,” he said. “But station No. 1 will have larger living quarters because it houses more men.”

Modeled on the old-style Chicago firehouse look, the stations will “represent the heritage” of firefighters, Stephens said.

“If you look at the old firehouses, like those back east in Chicago, there’s a lot of style there,” he said. “And I’ve always liked that. We were trying to think a little bit outside the box.”

Stephens said a design committee endorsed the “Chicago” look.

“They will stand by themselves,” Stephens said. “When people come through, they’ll say, ‘that’s different’ or ‘that’s unique.’ That’s what we were after.”

City officials chose that look, Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said, because they didn’t want the “traditional fire station with the big box and the metal roof.”

“When I travel I look at buildings all over. And I’m pleased we’re doing something different. Something that will make an impression. There will be a lot of people looking at Station No. 1. It will definitely have the ‘wow’ look.”

Still, aesthetics aren’t the only benefit from the new facility.

Once all three stations are built, city officials say residents’ fire insurance rates could go down.

“Our rates very well could do that (decrease),” Eddy said. “Once we get this done.”

Currently, Eddy said the city is ranked a three by the Insurance Services Organization. That ranking, he said, is used by insurance agencies to set premium prices for business and homeowners.

“It could go lower,” he said. “The best rating you can get is one and a lower rating, would, in turn, cause lower premiums for people.”

Additionally, the city’s investment in its fire department prevents rating agencies from giving the city a “split rating” where “more rural parts of the city have higher rates and the urban parts of the city have lower ones.”

“We prevented that,” Eddy said. “That won’t happen. If nothing else, we will at least maintain our current rating.”

Additionally, Eddy said the city is “in the process” of hiring six new firefighters between now and the end of the fiscal year, in June.

“We’re going to hire six now and six the next fiscal year,” he said.

At present, Moore has 54 firefighters, three employees in the fire marshal’s office and two administrators.

This Week's Circulars