"It's been a long process at this point," Cartersville Fire Chief Scott Carter said. "We began work on these designs probably back in '07 when the last SPLOST was approved. So this has been a project a long time coming and we're glad to see the dirt moved."
The headquarters, designed to be a 55,000 square foot building and home to the city of Cartersville police department and Fire Station No. 1. A new Fire Station No. 4 on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is included in the project as well.
CFD Capt. Mark Bagley said that the new stations are greatly needed as Station 1 is approximately 100 years old.
"There's a lot of history to that building," Bagley said. "It was built at the turn of the century and that's where the old 1918 truck ran out of for the first time."
"This fire station has been here since the horse and wagon days," Carter said. "One of the areas when you go to the station, you and actually see where the bay went out on Church Street before the bridge and that's where the horses used to go out. One of the offices where one of our sergeants works out of now is the old hay loft."
Considering the history within the station's walls, the new headquarters is designed to include a miniature museum to share the history of the city's fire and police departments with the community.
"In the front area of the station when you come in will be a mini-museum where the 1918 fire truck is going to be on display," Carter said. "The law enforcement has an antique car and there will be show cases, firefighter memorabilia and photographs from the 1800s when the department started.
"But one of the neat things that is going to be located in the vestibule area when you first enter the public safety building is going to be the fire pole from this station. I'm having them move the original fire pole that our guys still slide every day and it's going to be installed in the front lobby of the new fire station."
Gathered at the new location on Cassville road many people from both public service agencies could be heard saying that they "had to see it to believe" that this day was real.
"This is a big day that we've been looking forward to for years," Dan Porta, assistant city manager said.
Echoing Porta, city manager Sam Grove said that this building is "one of those things that will survive [you]," lasting for years to come.
The building's design will incorporate architectural features blending in with the community where it will be housed. Carter said that this thought was "very purposeful."
"We asked them to remember the Atco-Goodyear area, so there are some architectural features in that building that bring the old station into [it] and also takes into account the old Goodyear Mill. So there's some of those design components when you're looking at architecture that marries the two together."
Eager to get the dirt moving, Chief Carter's excitement was easy to spot as he impatiently waited for city dignitaries to align and take their shovels and urged the group by saying "let's dig! Let's go!"
Carter was not the only jovial public servant at the site and his excitement was contagious across agencies as Cartersville Police Chief Thomas Culpepper's smile clearly expressed the joyous occasion.
"I'm just as excited today as when I started in the police department," Culpepper said.
The headquarters and Station 4 have a completion date set for September 2012. Local subcontractors will join Potts Construction on the project.