Just east of SH 121 in The Colony sits the 400-acre Grandscape development – a constant reminder of future growth in the city.
And just behind the Nebraska Furniture Mart retail and distribution center is progress of a firehouse that will provide safety for that new growth.
Work continues on the $7.4 million Fire Station 4, which will be located behind Nebraska Furniture Mart on Plano Parkway.
Assistant Fire Chief Shannon Stephens said construction of the 18,000-square-foot facility is approximately 75 percent complete, and the completion date is set for mid-August – ahead of schedule.
Once complete Stephens said Fire Station 4, which will be the largest in the city, will serve an area that is growing quickly. It will be crucial to serve Grandscape, Austin Ranch and other areas on the east side of The Colony.
“There’s just under 2 million square feet of warehouse and retail and Nebraska Furniture and there will be 600,000 square feet at (incoming sporting goods store) Scheels,” Stephens said. “There’s going to be a 12-story residential tower in Grandscape and possibly another one. We’re going to be getting more calls to this area.”
The station is being designed to hold 15 firefighter staff. It will include five bays, though initially it will house three vehicles – a truck company, a rescue truck and an ambulance.
Stephens said the design of the station is keeping in mind the need for speed. For example, bay doors will open left and right instead of upward to save about eight seconds.
“Little things matter,” Stephens said. “Seconds lead to minutes. In an environment where someone can’t breathe it makes a difference.”
The interior layout also factors in time-saving efforts. Firefighter rooms are designed to have a straight shot to the bays.
Also, the station incorporates a locker room so firefighters can store their belongings there instead of their dorm rooms.
“If the dorm rooms are bigger then those grow away from the bays,” Stephens said. “So we decided to have one room for lockers to keep the dorms smaller and closer to the bays.”
The station will be include 15 dorm rooms, an office area, a living room and a 841-square-foot fitness center that can be shared by police officers.
In fact there will be a small police substation at the facility for officers who are closer to that part of the city.
There will be private and unisex showers and restrooms to take into account the increasing number of female firefighters/paramedics coming on board.
The facility will also have a triage room for residents who are in need of emergency care but don’t need to be transported to the hospital.
At the station’s entrance will be a 9/11 memorial park that will feature a steel beam from the south tower of the World Trade Center. The beam was donated to the city in 2011 following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Stephens said the station also includes dark, climate controlled rooms to hold fire gear since much of it is susceptible to sunlight.
Stephens said crews are using a tilt wall approach to the majority of the station to help reduce cost.
“With the growth that we’re having, we wanted a cost-efficient project,” Stephens said.
But more importantly Stephens said the station will provide a much-needed presence.
“We anticipate that this will be a busy house,” Stephens said. “With the projects developing at Grandscape we envision we’ll have 20 calls a day by the time it’s built out.”