Crews in Round Rock are hurrying to open a new fire station because an upcoming TXDOT bridge project would cut off several homes from a quick fire truck response.
But they're reusing a building you may not expect.
"We'll have bunk rooms behind us... this front room used to be a formal dining room now it's going to be offices," said Round Rock Fire Chief Robert Isbell.
He gave KVUE a tour of a home along Sam Bass road near Wyoming Springs Drive that they are turning into a fire station.
"The old master bedroom is going to be the fitness area," said Isbell.
A traffic problem lead them to the idea to convert the more than 3,000 square foot home into a fire station. TXDOT will soon close the FM 3406 bridge over I-35 for renovations.
"That project was going to slow our response times," said Isbell. "We were looking for solutions to our response times."
The city already owned the property at 2721 Sam Bass Road, with the house on it, as a spot for a future fire station.
"The original plans were to really tear down the place, and build a new station," said Isbell.
But Isbell said as they looked for solutions to the response times, they found something more permanent.
"We started looking at it as a temporary station, and as we got to looking at it deeper, we realized it's really not a temporary station," said Isbell. "We realized this is a great place, great structure, and it really meets the needs of the fire station," said Isbell.
So from painting to heating and cooling to new electrical work, crews are working to make the house a home to three firefighters, a fire engine, and offices, for 10 to 15 years.
"It's just a fraction of the cost of a new fire station," said Isbell.
The cost of this project is about $250 thousand dollars, which the city said is coming from leftover money from two other fire department projects. They say building a new one could cost a little more than 4 million dollars.
He said the home will be taken off the existing septic system and wastewater will be connected to a city line.
Isbell also said this plan would help preserve the location.
"That was another side into choosing the location is to preserve the location, no ecological impact that sort of thing," said Isbell.
But most important, he said it will improve response times.
Right now he said the nearby neighborhoods have about a seven to eight minute response time.
"With the bridge closure, that ould jump to well over 10 minutes," said Isbell.
But with the new station, Isbell said it should be four minutes or less.
The city said they hope to have this initial construction done by the end of May and open the station up on June 1.
They will still build a garage for the fire engine and hope to have that done by winter.
"It will look just like another house on the street," said Isbell.
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