COLUMBIA — Rain has delayed construction on the new Columbia Fire Station No. 7 for the past few months, but work has resumed on the building at the intersection of Green Meadows Circle and Bethel Street.
The original contract planned for the new building to be open and in use by late November, but the delays have pushed the building's opening back to January, said Battalion Chief Steve Sapp of the Columbia Fire Department.
"We hope Mother Nature has gotten it out of her system and will cooperate now," he said.
Currently, Fire Station No. 7 is located near the intersection of Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard. That building will be knocked down and the land sold after the new building opens. Several factors led to the need for the new fire station.
When Fire Station No. 8 was built in 2001, its location was too far east, Sapp said. That caused overlap issues with the current Fire Station No. 7.
To solve the problem, the new location of Station No. 7 is a half-mile farther west than the current Station No. 7.
The new station is also located on a less traffic-heavy intersection than the current station.
"We think putting it in this new location will provide better service and better coverage to our customers," Sapp said.
The new station will also include a drive-through bay for station vehicles, which the current station lacks. This has led to functionality issues as vehicles must be backed into the current station, which is unsafe for personnel , trucks and the building itself, Sapp said.
The new building is being built with an environmentally friendly design, including ground source heat pumps for heating and cooling and a storm drainage system. It is expected to meet certification standards for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.
LEED is a "third-party certification program and nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings," according to its Web site.
A structural engineer consultant told the Fire Department it would take anywhere from $350,000 to $500,000 dollars to repair structural damage to the current station.
The cost of the new building is $1,766,678 dollars. Groundbreaking took place on Jan. 10, 2008.