PREVIOUSLY REPORTED Earlier this year talks heated back up regarding a possible expansion to the Clayton Fire Station. A project over 10 years in the making, Clayton Fire Company members approved a $1.5 million expansion in a Feb. 19 special meeting.

At the time, Building Committee Chairman and CFC Public Information Officer Kevin Wilson said the expansion would add 7,500-square feet in additional space. The expansion would be two floors and would include renovations, both of which would address several needs of the fire department.

Following the approval, Wilson said the committee would work on finalizing the plans and then approve the final design.

WHAT'S NEW The Clayton Fire Company approved the final design plans in a Nov. 14 company meeting; however, a few things have changed since the initial approval in February.

The size of the expansion increased from 7,500-square feet to 10,000-square feet resulting in an increased price from $1.5 million to just under $2 million.

Clayton Fire Company member Skip Carrow said the increase in the square footage is being done so the department can completely address the need for space.

The expansion includes an additional engine room, expanded locker space, a training/meeting room, a fitness area, additional office space and more. Renovations include tearing off the lobby and incorporating the lobby into the new space.

"We continued to look and said before we go back and ask for final design approval, let's make sure we're completely addressing the need," Carrow said. "We didn't want to have to come back two or three years later asking for more."

Even with the additional space, Construction Manager Ed Ide said the project will take 12 to 14 months to complete; however, Ide pointed out that the work will not impact the services provided by the Clayton Fire Department.

"The fire company will stay in function the entire time," Ide said. "We plan to do the project in phases so the department can continue to function."

WHAT'S NEXT A groundbreaking will be held on Sunday, Dec. 8 to commemorate the project moving forward. Ide expects construction to begin sometime before the groundbreaking.

All the while the fire department will continue to do fundraisers to help pay for the project. A loan was taken out, which will partially be paid by moving some money around within their budget. Fire company members are hoping fundraisers will help offset the cost.

With construction expecting to begin relatively soon, members are happy to finally be moving forward with the expansion.

"Relieved. Apprehensive. Excited. There are a lot of different feelings right now," Wilson said. "Anytime a $2 million project is taken on by a volunteer organization there's a lot of emotions to go into it but the members all decided this. The members approved it."

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