South Elgin (IL) Officials Seek Assessment of Fire Station Issues

The South Elgin  board voted to ask its architectural firm to give them a complete assessment of their fire station’s needs — from space for firefighting apparatus to living space for firefighters, and from heating and cooling needs to its lack of parking.

“We have not had a building survey done in a couple of years. I am recommending a new building survey so we know what is wrong and what needs to be replaced,” said Fire Chief Bill Sohn.

The last survey was done in 2010, he said. But prices and concerns have changed since that time.

“We have had five more years of wear and tear on the building,” Sohn added.

After the survey is completed, the board could choose to go forward with renovations or pursue other next steps for its downtown South Elgin fire station.

What board members do know, Sohn said, is that they cannot add onto the building. The station is landlocked in the middle of the block. South Elgin’s Village Hall sits to the east, and Wee-Dees and the Third Rail Pub sit to the west.

The village of South Elgin has shown interest in buying the property, according to information from village officials during budget hearings this spring. Village Hall needs additional parking, and the police department is short on evidence storage, South Elgin officials said.

The board approved spending $10,000 for a report from 222 Architects, said Mary Van Winkle, board president.

The fire hall houses two ambulances, two fire engines, a ladder truck, staff car, dive van and boat, an ATV, “and all of our other miscellaneous equipment,” like hoses and hose dryers, Sohn said.

The equipment bays — with four bay doors — are 40-feet by 100-feet and 40-feet by 60-feet, he said.

There is about two feet of walking space for firefighters to fit between apparatus, he said.

Over the years, the building has had three additions and numerous remodels, he added. One of those additions was a second story in about 1982, to provide sleeping quarters for firemen.

Sohn said he doesn’t want to see good money go after bad. The concrete apron behind the building is crumbling, and the bay floors were built to hold firefighting apparatus that are 20 tons lighter than those they now operate.

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