Bloomington, Indiana Mayor Hamilton Swings Axe Friday to Begin Fire Station Renovation

Staff report

Bloomington, Indiana – December 1, 2023

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 1: Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton swings an axe at a wall inside the Downtown Bloomington Fire Station 1 during a groundbreaking ceremony on a remodel of the building on December 1, 2023, in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 1: Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton swings an axe at a wall inside the Downtown Bloomington Fire Station 1 during a groundbreaking ceremony on a remodel of the building on December 1, 2023, in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Bloomington Mayor Hamilton swung an axe during a groundbreaking to mark the official launch of a substantial renovation for Fire Station 1 on 300 E 4th St. is underway today.

This revitalization effort stands as the inaugural initiative among four Public Safety projects, all bolstered by the approved $29.5 million Economic Development Local Income Tax Bonds, according to the City of Bloomington. The work was approved by the city council earlier this year.

At an estimated cost of $4.5 million, the construction projects are planned to be concluded by October 2024, marking a substantial overhaul of the fire station’s infrastructure.

The reason for this renovation stems from the aftermath of a significant flood that besieged the station in June of 2021. The deluge wreaked havoc on the entirety of the basement and a segment of the first floor, resulting in substantial damage to critical infrastructure and communication apparatus housed in the basement. Consequently, the facility was deemed uninhabitable. Following an exhaustive feasibility study that evaluated alternative sites, it was determined that rectifying the root causes of the flooding would render the current site the most economically viable option.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 18: The Headquarters Fire Station is flooded. Kirkwood and large parts of downtown Bloomington were covered in water after a flash flood Friday night, which left a large portion of downtown flooded. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Mayor John Hamilton expressed gratitude towards the Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) personnel for their resilience and adaptability over the past two years while operating from temporary headquarters on 4th Street. “We eagerly anticipate their return to an upgraded and enhanced downtown establishment,” Mayor Hamilton remarked.

The renovation blueprint comprises several pivotal facets: elimination and filling of the basement, relocation of critical building systems to mitigate potential future hazards, compliance with contemporary fire station design standards, and the creation of a more inclusive environment for the firefighters. Additionally, the subsequent major bond-funded venture involves the acquisition and refurbishment of the Showers West building. This move aims to relocate the fire administrative offices from Station 1 and consolidate all fire administration and police administrative offices in Showers West and City Hall. The consolidation is poised to enhance coordination among public safety departments and with municipal governance, while also facilitating convenient public access, according to the city.

Chief Jason Moore of the Fire Department acknowledged the significance of such community investments in maintaining top-notch fire and emergency services. “Our firefighters’ adaptability to the temporary facility has been commendable, enabling us to uphold our mission. This upgraded facility will serve as a hub for our continued service to the community, embodying our core values of respect, integrity, and excellence,” Chief Moore stated.

Following the completion of the renovation, the BFD intends to host a Grand Re-Opening Ceremony, inviting the public to witness and engage with the evolution of their fire department.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 21: Bloomington Fire Department Chief Jason Moore stands in a doorway to a basement workout room with debris from the flood creating a waterline above his head Monday. Moore said the department is assessing the damage but still responding to emergency calls. The basement was flooded during Friday night’s flash flood. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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