CORNING — It's been seven years in the making, and a Corning City Council meeting March 20 will play a part in when Corning Fire Department will have a new fire station.
After Adams County flooded in 2007 and 2008, a meeting was held for the people of the city of Corning to discuss refurbishment of buildings.
“We had had a meeting of the city, I mean people of the city, with the RC and D (resource conservation and development) board,” said Corning Fire Chief Don Willett. “They threw out a whole bunch of things, and the thing that was at the top of the list was a new fire station. And, we were declared a disaster county because of the flood.”
Part of the building will be paid for with a grant.
“We could get a grant through USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). We were notified of that, we applied, we got the grant,” Willett said. “And, so consequently, it took off from there.”
The original budget was $1.5 million, and a plan was drawn up for a $1.4 million project. Bids for general contractors for the project were opened in August 2013.
“When we opened up the bids, the first one was $2.1 million, or something like that,” Willett said. “We had four bids, but they were all way over.”
New plans for the building were drawn up, with a projected cost of about $1.2 million.
When bidding is open, general contracting companies will put in a bid for the project, with smaller aspects of the buildling as sublet. These aspects include things such as electric and heating and cooling.
“Hopefully, we have more than four bids for general contractor,” Peckham said. “We don’t have a general contractor here in town, so that’s why we hope they (local businesses) have a chance through the general contractor.”
Corning City Council will open bids March 20. Then, the plan of action will begin.
“We’ve been excited for seven years,” Peckham said. “We hope it’s coming to a climax here this spring.”
The building, modeled after stations in Stanton, Bedford and Elk Horn, will be completed about 270 days after the start of construction. It will run double the size of the current station, with measurements of 100 feet by 95 feet. The meeting room size will double, and there will be men’s and women’s bathrooms and offices. The bay area will also be larger.
The bay area will be heated with radiant heat, which heats objects and people within a room or building rather than heating the air. There will be no air conditioning in the bay area. The other parts of the building will be heated and cooled.
“Right now, we cant get all of our equipment in here,” Willett said. “We’ve got two grass rigs sitting outside right now. We’ve got some other equipment stored around, like our Red Cross cots and and blankets and so forth are stored in a warehouse right now. The new facility will have storage for all that. Plus, it will give us room to go with a tanker truck if we decide to.”
Until the building is complete, equipment will be stored in other buildings in Corning.
“We’ve got a contract with the school, and they’ve got a four-bay bus barn that they can’t get their buses in now because their buses are all too long. We’ve had our fire trucks in there, and they will be parked down there,” Willett said. “That is two blocks from the station. Bunker gear and trucks will be there. All other stuff right now will be stored in part of a city shed.”
Meetings will also be held in the shed near Southwest Valley High School, which used to be an armory.
The new fire station will be taller than the current building, also, which will allow for the department to purchase trucks without special ordering ones that are shorter and fit inside.
The current building’s position on Davis Avenue is where a demolition crew will tear down the building before construction on the new fire station will start.
“The site had been a problem. At first, we had a site picked out out on the highway,” said Corning City Council member Bert Peckham. “But then, after the floods in 2010, when Cedar Rapids and Iowa City got flooded so bad, ... they raised the flood plain.”
If the station were to be built at the first chosen site, the city would have lost the grant money and would have had to pay flood insurance because the flood plain was changed from a 500-year to a 100-year.
A flood plain is the area near a body of water that experiences flooding, and how often it is flooded is known by the year amount.
So, the original location was decided upon by a committee of local people
“Try finding another spot in Corning,” Peckham said. “This is basically easy access to all the highways, just down the hill. It just, we looked in a lot of spots, and it was finally determined that this would be it.”
Land behind the station, which the new plan extends into, was owned by Adams County. However, the county is giving the property to the city for the fire department.
Corning Fire Department’s current building want erected in 1964 and dedicated in 1965. Since the dedication, the department’s coverage area has expanded to 227 square miles, including four miles into Taylor County.
There are currently 27 active volunteer firefighters with Corning Fire Department.