Fire Chief Scott Carter said the current building, a prefabricated metal structure that formerly served as a tire store, is showing its age and years of wear, and was not constructed as a fire station.
"But the primary reason that we're building a new Station 3 is because of its location," Carter said. "With the 2006 coverage study we had we saw that we needed the station closer down Old Mill Road to increase our coverage area as far as [International Organization for Standardization] is concerned. It provides us a more efficient response, gives us a better efficiency rating."
The project has not yet entered the design phase, but will likely be funded with 2007 Special Local Option Sales Tax dollars, as is the $9 million public safety headquarters building and the $1.8 million MLK Jr. Drive fire station.
"I anticipate [Station No. 3 costing] slightly more than Fire Station No. 4 because we're going to add an educational wing so the building will be slightly bigger -- a classroom where the kids can come in because we'll teach fire safety programs out of that," Assistant City Manager Dan Porta said. "We're looking at some property near Douthit Ferry Road, near [Cartersville] Middle School."
Carter indicated six to seven other sites could be on the radar but the location for Station No. 3 would be farther west than the existing facility, which houses the department's fire safety house, a mobile unit used in elementary school and public fire safety education efforts.
"That plan is because this station would be built closer to the primary, elementary schools, of course, than the current location for [No.] 3," he said. "In order to assist the kids -- because I think last year we did nearly 3,400 contacts as far public education is concerned -- in order to make it more efficient and closer to the education buildings and instead of [the students] having to go all the way to Cassville Road or transport all the way across town, we want to build an education wing on this station."
The "kid-friendly" fire safety education space would likely contain a puppet show stage and education demonstration areas, such as a replica kitchen. Carter said a construction time frame has yet to be determined, and is dependent on SPLOST collections.