Work to build a new fire station that will replace the station at 604 N. Adelaide St. will begin sometime next year.
Fire chief Mick Humer said there is a multitude of different advantages to getting a new fire station.
“Space has been a problem for several years,” he said.
The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulances and rescue teams need more equipment, and the fire apparatuses have gotten larger throughout the years, he said.
This replacement station is part of a 10-year plan to replace all three stations in town, Humer said, including the Normal Fire Department Headquarters, now located at 1300 E. College Ave, Normal.
The replacement of the Headquarters is expected to happen about four years after this first new station is completed.
It is planned to move farther east to improve response times on the east side of town.
The Normal City Council approved a contract with BLDD Architects of Bloomington to design the new station.
BLDD Architects were one of 19 architectural firms competing to design the new station.
It is expected that the building will be designed to be vertical instead of horizontal, as the station is now.
The contract is for $230,000.
According to the Pantagraph, Deputy City Manager Pamela Reece said the town staff thinks the project will cost about $5.5 million to $6 million, but they decided to base the contract on $7 million since they have not finalized a site for the new station.
The new station will not be at the same location as the facility it is replacing. According to the Pantagraph, the town is talking with Illinois State University about trading land for the new station.
Humer said that they have come up with as close to an ideal location as possible, but he is not ready to name it yet.
In addition, Normal has maintained it’s high fire safety rating.
The Normal Fire department is one of 750 departments out of 49,010 to receive a Class 2 rating.
Ratings are scaled from 1 to 10, Class 1 being the best. Only 60 communities earned a Class 1 rating.
Humer said he is not aware of any communities near Normal that received a Class 1 rating.
The Insurance Services Office determines the ratings for the fire departments.
The Normal Fire Department hires the company to rate their firehouses every few years.
Humer said many factors went into receiving a Class 2 rating. The department’s response time being a major factor, as well as training, equipment, and the town’s water system.
The 911 system for the county also helped the rating, Humer added.
Humer said the amount of people and equipment is what is keeping the department from getting a Class 1 rating.
“It would be a lot of money going into the fire department, for not much return,” Humer said about being able to receive a Class 1 rating.