JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Construction happening right now will keep the Sea Islands safe well into the future.
The St. Johns Fire District broke ground on a new fire station and a new headquarters Tuesday morning.
Fire station 3 on Wadmalaw Island will soon be replaced.
Battalion Chief James Ghi said, "You can only accommodate four people at this time. There's one bathroom, so it's really cramped quarters."
Station 3 will be upgraded from 1,100 square feet to 8,000. There will be a lot more room for equipment and firefighters.
"They work a day, off two; work a day, off two. They're here a third of their lives so we have to make it as comfortable as possible for them," said Ghi.
Firefighters will also have more space in their new headquarters on Main Road. The current headquarters has been used since the 60's and is 1,500 square feet. The new building will be 10,000 square feet.
Ghi said, "This will consolidate everybody in one area. It will allow for better communication, more efficient communication which translates into better service for the community."
Eric Brittion, chair of the St. Johns Fire Commission said, "There's still a lot of growth coming to the islands and the whole purpose to expand and better serve the constituents of our community."
St. John's Fire District serves Johns, Kiawah, Seabrook and Wadmalaw Islands.
More than 10,000 people have moved to the area since the year 2000. That's a growth of nearly 35%. According to the 2010 census, the population of the Sea Islands is now close to 30,000 people.
The new buildings will be funded with tax free bonds. The combined total to replace the headquarters and station 3 is just over $4.2 million.
Both buildings are set to open in March of next year.