‘Home away from home’: James Island Public Service District requests station revamp
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - James Island Public Service District says they’re in need of a revamped fire station to make the crew’s environment more of a home.
The JIPSD requested permission to issue $6,500,000 in general obligation bonds for a whole new building from the Charleston County finance committee on Thursday.
“It’s a long-standing problem for the JIPSD,” Dave Schaeffer, district manager for the JIPSD, said. “We got to the point where we need to address it.”
The building for Fire Station #2 for the James Island Public Service District has been standing since 1964. Aside from adding a bay in the 1980s, the crews have been working in and out of a small living room, kitchen, a few beds and one bathroom.
Shawn Engleman, deputy fire chief of administration for the JIPSD, says they normally have 3-4 people in the building at one time, but they could have up to 8-10 people during a severe storm.
“It’s difficult to work at times,” Engleman said. “It’s very cramped.”
Schaeffer says the time for this change is now.
“Our firemen, this is their home away from home,” Schaeffer said. “They eat here. They sleep here.”
The team wants to tear this building down and create a new home for these firefighters. With the request from Charleston County council, a new bay for an extra truck, more bathrooms, offices and a decontamination area for equipment can be added, amongst others.
“A lot has changed in the last 40 years,” Schaeffer said. “There’s now 40,000 people that live on James Island. So, it’s very important that we have a station to respond appropriately.”
They say construction could start as early as 2025. While this takes place, Engleman says they will have a temporary spot somewhere near this location for about 18 months while the new building is being constructed.
“We just hope they pass it so we can move forward and get this project going,” Engleman said.
If the money is approved all the way through county council, it will be back in the public service district’s hands as early as August. If everything goes smoothly, Fire Station #2 could be up and running by 2027.
All proposed design renderings for Fire Station #2 were done by Rosenblum Coe Architects.
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