Gilbert (IA) Fire Station Opens

The Gilbert-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department has taken possession of its new fire station, and city staff have begun moving into the new City Hall.

The new building, designed by Accord Architecture in Ames, is located on a three-acre property on the east side of town, just north of Gilbert High School. Roughly half of the 8,400 square-foot building is dedicated to the fire department. The building also features a kitchen, conference room, community room and City Hall.

The fire department just took possession of the building on Friday, said Art Fleener, chairman of the Gilbert-Franklin Township Fire Agency.

The firefighters have been itching to get into the new space, and have spent evenings this week installing baseboards and building storage shelves, Fleener said.

On Sunday, the fire agency is hosting a fundraiser at the new station from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Community members are invited to tour the building and enjoy a pulled pork dinner with free will offering. Funds raised will help outfit the building with things like a stove and refrigerator for the kitchen, tables and chairs, and projectors and screens, Fleener said.

The roughly $1.4 million building was funded by about $450,000 in donations and a $900,000 20-year USDA rural economic development loan.

The building is low energy and outfitted with adjustable LED lights that operate on timers and motion sensors, Fleener said.

A kitchen connects the 2,500 square-foot community room and the 5,000 square-foot firetruck bays.

“The whole other fire station would fit inside here,” Fleener said of the bays.

A mezzanine provides extra storage space and will allow the firefighters to do ladder training indoors.

“It’ll just be better for our folks to do their training (in the new station), it’ll be safer for them,” Fleener said.

The station has a tool room and — something the old station didn’t have — a shower. There is also an office and a 700 square-foot conference room that will double as the city council chambers.

“We built this for the future so we can grow,” Fleener said. “The north wall can be expanded out if needed if we decide we want more space in the future. The same with the south wall in the community room.”

The bays open up on the west side of the building. The public entrance is on the east side, which Fleener said will help divide the traffic flow if firefighters have to hurry out to a call at the same time an event is happening in the community room.

An old water truck is on display outside the entrance to the fire station, and there are plans to erect a display case in the hallway featuring old firefighter paraphernalia and community items.

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