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Plans advance for two Spotsylvania fire stations

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Spotsylvania County is moving forward with two long-discussed fire and rescue stations at a total cost of up to $7.5 million.

Both are scheduled to open sometime next year.

The Board of Supervisors this week met behind closed doors to discuss buying 5.3 acres for a station off the U.S. 17 Bypass. Spotsylvania-based Tricord Cos. owns the property at Crossroads Parkway, near the future Virginia Railway Express station.

The 13,000-square-foot fire and rescue station was initially scheduled to open this year on Benchmark Road. But negotiations to buy that land fell through. The county expects to spend $3.5 million to $4 million to purchase the land and build the station.

Though Spotsylvania has yet to purchase any property, Supervisor Gary Skinner says he hopes to finish the project by summer. Meanwhile, county staffers say they hope to start construction in early spring.

The location east of the train tracks will allow emergency personnel to respond more quickly to incidents along State Route 2, Skinner said. The new station would be the first in his Lee Hill District.

“It’ll serve the people without the potential of the train . . . causing them to be delayed,” said Skinner, who also noted the proximity to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. “It should save some lives because of that.”

The other station in the pipeline will be at 6204 Plank Road, near Chancellor Elementary School. That 16,000-square-foot facility will consolidate a county-owned rescue station on Harrison Road and a fire station on State Route 3 owned by Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue.

County Administrator Doug Barnes said he hopes the $3 to $3.5 million station will open by summer.

Supervisors this week approved a $218,764 contract with Spotsylvania-based Collins Contracting Co. for site work.

Spotsylvania will likely sell its rescue station on Harrison Road once it’s replaced by the new facility, Barnes said. The land and building are assessed at $363,500.

“I think it’s more suitable for a commercial need just being where it’s at,” Barnes said.

It’s unclear what Chancellor volunteers will do with their outdated station No. 5. That property is valued at $321,400 for tax purposes.

The volunteer department has been asking for a new station for years. It’s been a decade since Spotsylvania voters approved the project as part of a $30 million bond referendum.

The new Chancellor station will be staffed with career and volunteer personnel.

The additional station at the U.S. 17 Bypass will be manned by career personnel only, at least initially.

The county’s 2013–14 spending plan includes nine additional firefighters/medics to be funded starting Jan. 1, 2014. The plan is for those employees to staff the new Lee Hill station.

Originally, the county planned to hire an additional 18 employees for that station over a six-month period.

Earlier this year, a group of volunteer firefighters questioned the need for the facility, calling it a waste of taxpayer money. Skinner sharply disagreed with that sentiment.

Both new fire stations will include a training room, offices, a control room, restrooms, showers and a dayroom. The Chancellor station will have four 20- by 80-foot fire truck bays. The Lee Hill station will have three of them.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402