Florida Keys News
Monday, April 1, 2013
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Fire station projects moving along
Money set aside for current work; two more Keys stations on radar screen

The newly constructed portion of the updated Conch Key fire station could be completed in as little as a month, but that work has exposed issues with the old building that will have to be repaired, officials said.

Meanwhile, workers are moving forward with the much-anticipated $3.5 million Stock Island Fire Station No. 8 on the four lots surrounding the current station at the corner of MacDonald and Maloney avenues that is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

The new part of the $1.84 million, two-story Conch Key fire station renovation should be completed by May 1 as planned, but the old existing building needs a new roof, said Monroe County Project Management Director Jerry Barnett.

The old tar roof is leaking and construction crews didn't realize the scope of the problem until construction of the newer building was underway.

"The new part will be completed within 30 to 60 days, but the repairs to the old building could take an additional couple of months," Barnett said.

The new roof will be metal-covered, unlike the old roof.

Despite the ongoing repairs to the old building, firefighters will still be moving into the new portion while work crews complete upgrades to the older building, said Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief Jim Callahan.

The $22,000 being spent for the new roof as well another $17,000 to make an old bathroom handicapped accessible will all be paid with monies already set aside, Barnett and Callahan said.

Barnett hopes the entire project will be completed within four months, he said.

The new Conch Key station will feature a much-needed upgraded kitchen, space for four fire engines, an office, improved sleeping quarters and an elevated generator with enough fuel to keep the station powered for a week,

On Stock Island, construction crews have poured the foundation and begun erecting cinder block walls for the station. The target completion date for that new station is Dec. 13 and Callahan was optimistic.

"The foundation and elevation work is done, so they're making headway and they're on schedule," Callahan said.

The Stock Island and Conch Key fire stations will house four career firefighters, a fire engine, an ambulance and the Conch Key station may house a tanker truck, Callahan said.

Callahan has also moved to have money set aside for a new Summerland Key fire station and for renovations to the Sugarloaf Volunteer Fire Department station.

"Those improvements are on our radar and are my priorities in terms of capital improvements," Callahan said.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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