Fayette County

Lexington’s next fire station to be in fast-growing neighborhood

Planned Lexington fire station 24 from Magnolia Springs Drive.
Planned Lexington fire station 24 from Magnolia Springs Drive. Brandstetter Carroll.

Construction should begin this fall on a two-story fire station off Citation Boulevard and Magnolia Springs Drive, Lexington fire officials said Tuesday.

Fire station 24 will take more than 13 months to build. Construction bids should be released in August, with work beginning in mid-October, said Eric Chambers, chief architect with the firm Brandstetter Carroll.

The fire department hopes to be in the building by February 2019, Chambers told the Urban County Council’s Planning and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.

“It has a more traditional, classical feel,” Chambers said of the exterior design.

There are 23 fire stations in Fayette County. This is the first new station since 2007.

Mayor Jim Gray had set aside $5.2 million in the current-year budget for the 12,000-square-foot station.

Rapid population growth on the city’s west side created the need for another fire station. The closest fire station to Masterson Station, one of the state’s largest neighborhoods, is on Leestown Road. That station was built in 1952.

Some council members questioned during Tuesday’s meeting why the Leestown Road station wasn’t going to be closed.

Fire Chief Kristin Chilton said the Leestown Road station is needed because of the population growth.

Councilman Kevin Stinnett questioned whether the $5.2 million included accounted for additional firefighters.

Chilton said it didn’t. An additional 24 firefighters will be needed to staff that station. Their salaries will be part of the fire department’s future budget requests. In addition, the fire station has requested a new emergency unit or ambulance unit and will need an additional 12 firefighters in the coming year to staff that unit.

“I am concerned about the total costs,” Councilman Fred Brown said.

Chilton said she will return in April with an update on a 2015 consultant’s report on locations of fire stations.

Instead of overhead doors, the planned station will have bi-fold bay doors, which are easier to maintain and more efficient, Chambers said. The preliminary designs call for living quarters on the top floor. The bottom floor will include areas to keep fire engines and ambulances, and rooms for mechanical and equipment storage. The kitchen will be on the first floor. The new station also will have an exercise room.

The city also is completing construction of a $4 million fire station off Eastland and Murray drives to replace Fire Station 2, which is on New Circle Road. That fire station was originally a fire and police station, according to the city’s website. Because of rapid population growth in the Winchester Road corridor, the station was moved to Eastland and Murray drives. The new Station 2 is set to open this spring.

The city recently received the top fire safety rating used by insurance companies to set insurance rates. That was due in part because of the money the city has spent updating the fire training center and adding fire stations to improve response times.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall