BETHLEHEM Work has officially begun on a $2.2 million project to expand the Slingerlands Firehouse.
At a ceremony held on Wednesday, Aug. 1, Slingerlands fire officials broke ground to revamp the New Scotland Road facility. The project has been in the works since early 2008.
“We’re excited,” said Ryan McConky, a commissioner for the Slingerlands Fire District who helped spearhead the project. “There have been a lot of ups and downs along the way, but we’ve charged ahead and gotten through those issues. Now, we’re just looking forward to seeing things progress.”
The fire station was first built in 1966 and a majority of the structure is original. In 2000, a small expansion was completed to update office space, but soon ceilings began to leak in the older portions of the building and close quarters in the bay meant first responders were often breathing in exhaust fumes from engines.
In December of 2011, voters approved a plan to borrow $1.8 million to go forward with the project. Then in July of this year another vote was needed to approve the use of an additional $400,000 from the district reserves due to rising costs. That vote passed by a margin of 78 to 25.
The expansion calls for the addition of two bays, more storage areas for equipment and files, the construction of a radio room in the front of the building and the addition of a decontamination station, where firefighters can wash off harmful substances from fire scenes or from work on equipment at the station.
Fire officials said the health and safety of the volunteer unit was the main reason for the expansion.
“The primary expansion is going to get the firefighters away from the apparatuses while they are dressing and get them out of the same rooms that the engines are running in,” said Slingerlands Fire Chief Brian Sleurs.