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New Superior headquarters fire hall in the works

The new headquarters fire hall planned for the Superior Fire Department.

A new headquarters fire hall is on tap for the Superior Fire Department.

Bids for the $4.5 million construction project went out Tuesday, according to Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger.

The new structure will encompass more than 20,000 square feet, doubling the size of the current fire hall at 3326 Tower Ave. Construction is slated to start in May and be completed in November, with final site work and a new outbuilding planned for spring 2019.

The current fire hall, built in 1980, will remain in operation as the new building is constructed 15 feet away. Then it will be demolished.

The project fills a growing need for space.

"Things have changed since 1980," Panger said. "We do provide more services and with that comes more equipment."

Additional crew space will accommodate male and female employees while being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There will be a spot to repair air packs, a maintenance room, decontamination area and separation between dirty and clean areas to control contact with harmful substances encountered on the job.

The building will feature drive-through stalls for trucks, and ceilings high enough to allow crews to tip the cabs of the engines up to access the engines underneath.

Funding for the $500,000 design and planning phase was approved in 2016. The $4.5 million construction cost is slated to come from the city's Capital Improvement Program.

Panger said officials looked at whether they could continue to use the 1980 building and just add on, but it had structural issues. He said the new, energy-efficient building is designed to last 50 years.

A report on the progress and history of the project will be presented at the Common Council meeting Tuesday, and councilors will consider bonding for the new fire hall.