Ed Simmons

Fairmont Fire Chief Ed Simmons, left, and Omni architect Adam Rohaly stand with a rendering of the new East Side Fire Station after Tuesday’s Fairmont City Council meeting.

FAIRMONT — Fairmont City Council members got their first look at a rendering of the new East Side Fire Station Tuesday.

The picture was on display for everyone to see at the council meeting.

“It’s great,” Mayor Brad Merrifield said. “If it’s effective and efficient and if they (the first responders) are pleased with it, I think that’s the main thing, in my opinion.”

Council member Josh Rice said the new fire station will be in his district, so he will go by it every day. He liked the design.

“The people that work there are going to love it,” he said. “It fits perfect in the neighborhood, everything. I think it’s going to be an A-plus for District 1 over on the East Side.”

Fairmont Fire Chief Ed Simmons said it’s a work in progress, but “a very good start.”

“It looks really good,” he said. “There’s some things I heard concerns about, but overall, it’s awesome.”

Architect Adam Rohaly, with Omni Associates — Architects of Fairmont, was on hand at the meeting.

“It’s kind of a tight site, so the challenge was to get every state-of-the-art need for a future station that would last 50, 70, 100 years, and fit it all on the site and allow for some future growth as well,” he said. “So, we’ve kind of tried to use some materials and scale to bring the building down to a neighborhood scale, because it’s not really in a business district, it’s more of a neighborhood setting.”

At the same time, Rohaly said the rendering of the new fire station, which incorporates tumbled brick, features a tower element that “kind of calls some attention to the more civic use.”

“It’s intended to be a little bit inviting,” Rohaly said. “There’s a lot of glass there, a little bit of steel, there’s the logo of the fire department. Right now, we’re showing some red and blue film over top of the glazing at the top there.”

He described the tower element, and the entire building, as “a little bit more modern,” with “basic traditional building elements used in a little bit modern way.”

He said the goal in designing the new fire station was to “blend it into the neighborhood, but make it still look like a civic fire station, a civic use building.”

There was a nod to the current station as well.

“Overall, we wanted to relate a little bit, in some of the elements, back to the existing structure, which is on the other side of Morgantown Avenue,” he said. “So, we wanted to use some of those elements, some of the arches, some of the bricks, the tower that you see there. That’s kind of a modern interpretation of that same tower that you will see on the historic building. So, we wanted to recollect that, but give it a fresh, new look and still blend it into the neighborhood.”

Beyond its look, Rohaly said the new fire station is being designed to protect firefighters from hazards.

“Cancer is a huge thing with firemen these days, so we have state-of-the-art exhaust systems in the apparatus bay, we have decontamination rooms and units that allow them to completely decontaminate from the apparatus bay and filter into the occupied space of the building,” he said. The new fire station design, which is about 8,500 square feet and has two stories, includes two apparatus bays, a lobby and entrance area, kitchen space, day room for the firefighters, apparatus space support, bunks and a fitness area and laundry and bathroom facilities, he said.

During the meeting, council introduced and provided a first reading for a proposed ordinance allowing the project to proceed. A public hearing on the proposed ordinance was set for Aug. 13.

City Clerk Janet Keller read the proposed ordinance, which is for “authorizing and approving the design, acquisition, construction and equipping of a new fire station to be constructed on real property located in the vicinity of 828 Vermont Avenue in the City of Fairmont and to be known as the “East Side Fire Station” by the City Of Fairmont on behalf of the Fairmont Building Commission.”

The ordinance also covers the “leasing of such real property and all project improvements and appurtenances thereto by the City of Fairmont from the Fairmont Building Commission, as well as the sale and issuance by the Fairmont Building Commission of its not to exceed $3,000,000 principal amount of lease revenue bonds, in one or more series.”

The proposed ordinance is also for “prescribing the forms and authorizing the execution and delivery of an agreement and lease and other instruments and authorizing and approving other documents and matters relating to the terms and security of such bonds; and providing for other matters in connection therewith.”

Simmons said the timeline for the project calls for construction bids to be advertised around the first of September and opened around the first of October.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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