By David Tuma, Publisher
The Central Fire Station on Penelope Street is undergoing major renovations. Last year, there was a discovery of mold in the walls. It was just a matter of an old building which had been renovated every so often needing a major repair.
City work crews opened the wall and lo and behold, there was mold. The entire building has been ripped down to the floor and cement or brick walls. Most of the walls are cinder block or brick and those will remain. The building was stripped down to the bare brick and steel girders. Drop ceilings were removed and will be replaced. Brand new A/C units will be installed along with new ductwork. This should eliminate any potential mold return in the future.
Once completed, it is a much-improved facility for the firemen serving the south side of Belton. The building has three types of bricks along the walls. Doors in the back were closed up during one remodel. There will be new bricks added on three of the four outgoing walls. These will match the fourth wall.
There is room to sleep six firemen and three separate bath and showers. The interior walls are being coated to prevent moisture from returning. It was the back wall that was the problem, near the sleeping area. Water was leaking into the building through the bricks, but not into the interior. It was hard to detect until the musty smell appeared.
The firemen who work that station have been residing in a mobile home at the City of Belton’s Public Works Department. It was set up to handle the workload on a short term basis.
“City work crews saw the moisture as the tore down the sheetrock. We want them back in the building as soon as possible,” said Paul Romer, Media Relations Officer City of Belton. “This is a full renovation costing over $220,000.”
When completed, the building will have drop-down ceilings and modern lighting and new A/C. The majority of the work is being completed by city work crews, with some of the work to be subbed out to contractors.
“The city council wants this done right,” said Romer. “Our firefighters deserve a first-rate facility. That is what we plan to deliver.”
There will also be some landscaping added around the building. The parking lot at The Gin area is higher than the ground floor of the fire station. This will be addressed.
“If all goes according to plan, we plan to have them back in the station by late summer,” said Romer. “The firemen were moved out last October.”