Originally built in 1956, in the modern or “international” style, according to a fact sheet, was state-of-the-art for the time, but was in need of major upgrades.
“Prior to me getting the job as fire chief I understand they [the city commission] determined the station was more than 50 years old and it was time for a renovation,” said Fire Chief Toni Dixon.
According to Dixon, the station was completely “gutted” remodeled on the inside. They swapped the offices from one side of the building to the other and installed a geothermal heat pump system – which replaced bulky exterior-located condensers and cooling towers and utilizes the constant temperature of the earth to exchange heat for the cooling and heating process.
Dixon added the station also has a rainwater system, which primary use is for washing the fire trucks.
The 10,000-square-feet, $2.25 million project was partially funded by the city of Decatur, along with federal funds and required compliance with Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.
Other improvements included re-programming of space, masonry repair, upgrading of mechanical and electrical systems and replacement of interior finishes. It was done with more sustainable features to achieve a 33 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 30 percent reduction in water usage.
Besides the renovation to station No. 1, station No. 2 also recently faced an upgrade. With that project, the station was completely torn down and re-built and opened about three years ago, said Dixon.
Having the two refurbished stations has meant a boost in morale and pride for the firefighters and personnel working out of the facilities, said Dixon.
“You know firefighters have a sense of pride when they have great equipment and living facilities – so I feel that it has boost morale,” she said.
Dixon is most pleased with the renovation of the sleeping quarters in station No. 1 – which involved moving them from the front of the building to the back, and having the kitchen in the front.
“That way during the day they have a lot of nice sunlight coming into the kitchen and day room versus having to have that light and bad traffic coming to the front of the station where the living quarters used to be,” said Dixon.
In addition, there is also a rooftop garden/picnic area where they can enjoy the fresh air and have lunch.
“We’re just really happy to be back home and we have gotten a lot of support from the community during our renovation and although we’re happy to be back, I think the residents are even happier that we’re back home,” said Dixon.