BEATRICE – One thing’s clear about the new fire station being built in Beatrice….there will be a lot more room for fire and rescue vehicles in the critical storage bay area.
"Right now, our apparatus bay is six-thousand square feet. This is sixteen-thousand square feet. So, it's going to allow us to have space between vehicles...be able to open doors and not be that close to another vehicle backing in."
Beatrice Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Daake took reporters on a tour of the new headquarters interior. The station is being built on a city block between 6th and 7th, Bell Street to Scott Street. The part about proximity of vehicles is no joke, based on some past mishaps. There are no pillars inside...like the current fire station.
"The worst one was, somebody left a door up on one of the rigs, and ripped the door right off."
The new station has drive-through capability, with one of the drive-throughs on the north side of the interior a wash bay….controlling storm water runoff to the outside. There will also be sensors in the building to handle air exchange needed with vehicles exiting and entering the station. Daake said there is interior and exterior access to a decontamination area next to the bays.
"That's one of the entrances to the decontamination room, and then we can also make access from the outside, as well. We don't have decon at the old place. Where you see the yellow staircase, that's going to be the training tower, up there."
There’s about 350 cubic yards of concrete just in the bay area….with thickness of the pavement between 10-to-16 inches to handle today’s very heavy equipment.
Much of the work is now going on in the interior….with space for Beatrice Rural Firefighters, increasing their room from what’s been described previously as a closet. A classroom at the new station doubles as a storm shelter. There’s also an area for a back-up emergency dispatch console.
The new fire station will have a defined front public entrance, including some history of the fire department. The public, for security reasons, will be buzzed in. There’s also larger conference area for department personnel.
Unlike the current quarters in the lower level of the city auditorium, the chief and captains’ offices have windows.
"We have three captains, one for each shift. Right now, unlike here, they share the same office. But now, they share the same desk, the same computer, the same chair. Anybody that's had to share that kind of stuff knows how dynamic that can be. There going to each get their own desk in this room. Then they don't have to clean their stuff up after shifts. They can just leave it laid out and try to work on it the next day."
The new spaces will make working on reports easier. For firefighters and rescue personnel who work 24-hour shifts, there’s also a kitchen and dining area and space with access to an outside small patio. Every two dorm rooms share a bathroom. The station has larger area for turnout gear used by firefighters. Daake says the headquarters is designed with response time in mind.
"We did extensive travel time studies, if you will. I don't remember the time frame, but most of the living spaces are probably within about a minute to get to the front door of the front-out apparatus. We're trying to maintain that speed. Obviously, the closer you are to the apparatus bay, the shorter your travel time is. We did a lot of our own internal studies and then JEO (engineering consultants) actually did studies too with the design layout to make sure that our turnout time is as reduced, as possible."
The training tower area of the new department has more space than an old tower adjacent to the current headquarters.
The new $8.3 million station, expected to be completed in September of October, is being financed by a voter-approved half-cent local sales tax. Revenue is trending higher than expected from the tax, meaning the bonds that pay for the station may be retired a year earlier than expected. Hampton Commercial Construction is the general contractor for the project.