DeLand’s future fire station will be built with the health and safety of firefighters, whose leading cause of death is cancer, in mind.
DELAND — The site where the DeLand Elks used to meet is a step closer to getting a major makeover that will serve a different kind of crew.
The City Commission got a picture Tuesday night of what first responders will be working out of in the future when the new fire station is built, at an estimated cost of $4,866,000, at the northwest corner of the intersection of West Howry and South Clara avenues.
Future Fire Station 81 will have two stories, the second of which will have a multipurpose outdoor area where firefighters can train on operating hoses and rappel off buildings, according to a presentation from SchenkelShultz Architecture, the Orlando-based firm tasked with the project.
Current Fire Station 81, located a block east of its future home, eventually will be demolished and turned into 85 to 90 parking spaces.
The new facility will be constructed with a focus on health and safety.
“This fire station’s going to be developed with cancer prevention in mind,” DeLand Fire Chief Todd Allen said in a phone interview.
Cancer is the leading cause of death for firefighters in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The facility will have decontamination zones to keep the cancer-causing contaminants firefighters often get on their gear from spreading to more than one area.
In addition to health and safety, mirroring the historical character of DeLand’s downtown will be another focus of the project, said Johnnie Lohrum, an architect with SchenkelShultz.
“DeLand has a significant identity and character and we want to make sure that any facility we’re putting here shares that character, the history, the human scale, the branding, the public space and the connection to the environment that’s already here,” Lohrum said.
Part of what will make the new 16,000-square-foot station so special is the involvement members of the DeLand Fire Department had in the design process, Allen said.
“Having their input in the entire process gives them a sense of ownership in the facility,” Allen said.
City Manager Michael Pleus said the final design is likely a few months out, and he hopes to go out for bid in January.
Once the project is awarded to a contractor, it’s estimated construction at the old Elks property, which the city already owns, will take about eight months.
In addition to the new fire station, SchenkelShultz is working on the design of a new evidence facility to supplement current storage needs for DeLand police, which will be constructed at the southeast corner of the intersection of West Howry and South Clara avenues, across from police headquarters.
The plan is to go with a pre-engineered metal building that could be spruced up with some brick treatments to make it blend better with the surrounding area, Lohrum said.
“We’re also designing the facility in a way that it sits on the site and it’s very rectilinear so that if there’s every any future expansion that’s required, it can happen very easily and very cost effectively,” Lohrum said.
The new evidence facility comes with an estimated cost of $989,000 and construction time of two months.