The Winchester City Council has agreed to pursue a loan that will move Winchester Fire Department’s Station No. 1 to a new location and pay $2.46 million for renovation work.
The proposed new location for the Fire Hall will be the former Don Hall Ford building at 800 S. College St.
The loan will be paid in installments over 12 years with a 4.25 percent interest rate that will not change throughout the life of the loan.
City Administrator Beth Rhoton explained to the board that the resolution amount the city would borrow would not exceed $2.5 million.
Rhoton said the city would not have to immediately borrow that amount and would not have to draw any funds until construction is underway.
The City Council has been looking at relocating the fire station due to the unique challenges of trying to get fire trucks in tight spaces amid traffic on the Square.
City officials have said the move will make it easier to get to areas where Winchester’s development has been expanded into. Construction is expected to start in February with the project completed in August.
Council members decided in December to go with DBS Corp. from Chattanooga to handle the construction.
The Allen & Hoshall engineering firm, with offices in Chattanooga and Nashville, will be designing the new station.
The project has been several years in the making for the Fire Department with several changes made to the original plans.
The new station will have 13,000 square feet in space with the department occupying 8,000 square feet. The additional space will allow the department to expand in the future.
Fire Chief Gary Greeson previously said the move will get the department closer to major population pockets, including school property, industrial sites and the new Twin Creeks Village and Marina.
Greeson added that being closer to the larger areas will help with the city’s fire safety rating by Insurance Services Office Inc. which can mean lower insurance costs.
The ISO rating for Winchester is 4 on a 1-10 scale with 1 being the best.
Greeson explained that the move might get the city to a 3 rating, and that would be fantastic for a city Winchester’s size.
Another perk is that the Fire Department will be able to have a training room in the new hall instead of having to secure space in City Hall as is done now.