DeWitt Township has two fire stations, one of which is 70 years old.
"This is our radio room, and the radio used to be over in this corner, but we had to move it because we have water issues," Fire Chief Dave DeKorte said, pointing at a hole in the ceiling. "Last year, we had 1,884 calls. It's a lot for a paid, on-call department."
DeKorte said a remodel for the station on W. Wieland Road is long overdue.
"The township has known since 2009 from the feasibility study that this had to be replaced," DeKorte said.
Thankfully, a replacement is in the works.
"The board has entrusted us to explore the possibility of building a new fire station off of Wieland Road there, in close proximity to the first station number one," Township Manager Andrew Dymczyk said. "We're moving through our processes as best we can. We've got some preliminary plans and design, and right now, the current stage that we're at, we're looking at the financing options with a station and a building of that size."
The current station is only 8,080 square feet, a little more than one-and-a-half NBA basketball courts. DeKorte said that needs to double.
"We don't have much room to store anything," DeKorte said. "We have no storage and no training room, the bathrooms are very small, no locker rooms, no shower."
DeKorte said the new station will also need major electrical upgrades like one heating system instead of three and central air conditioning instead of a few window units.
"Between the heat and the electric last year, the electrical and gas bill was just over $20,000, compared to our newer station where it was $8,200," DeKorte said.
It would also need better plumbing.
"This building is still on a well system," DeKorte said. "So, we have had well issues, water issues, plumbing issues."
The only thing standing in their way? The current project estimate is $12.5 million.
"What we've seen with some other projects in the local area is that the estimates are coming in a little higher right now," Dymczyk said.
It's still early on in the planning process, however. The township will seek expert advice from bond counsel to establish financing and ask for community engagement before any part of the project goes out for bid.
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