Cary Fire District completes station renovation, expansion

CARY – Inside Cary Fire Protection District’s Station 1 is a larger training room so the district could comfortably seat all of its members. Previously, if there were more than 50 people, they would stand along the back wall during a general meeting.

The expanded training room was part of a $1 million expansion and renovation that started in June at the fire station that was originally built in 1985. A substantial amount of the work was finished last month, but there are a handful of touch-ups that need to be completed.

The previous capacity of the training room was 50 people. The district has 72 members, so from time to time there would be people standing in the back of the room during general meetings, said Fire Chief Jeffrey Macko said.

“We could scrunch everybody in,” Macko said.

Now the capacity is about 100 to 125 people depending on whether people are seated at tables.

“The training facility was the biggest thing we wanted to get done,” Macko said. “It makes it a lot easier. We do a lot of training.”

As part of the renovation, firefighters now have individual bunk rooms when they sleep overnight at the station. Previously, firefighters had to share a 24-foot-by-12-foot bunk room. Beds were separated by 6-foot tall partitions. There are five women in the department, Macko said.

“In the one room, there’s not too much privacy,” Macko said. “Some people snore.”

The six 8-foot by 8-foot bunk rooms are now sound proof, and each has a bed and small closet.

Special lights also were added to the rooms. Instead of lights going to the brightest levels right away when there is an alarm, lights gradually become brighter to allow for firefighters to adjust in the middle of the night when they’re woken up.

The training room expansion, and bunk remodeling was the second phase of renovations that are part of the district’s strategic plan. Two years ago the district remodeled the front office space.

As part of the work, the fire district decided to add a sprinkler system to its building, something that wasn’t required.

“We thought it was the right thing to do,” Macko said.

The cost of the expansion and renovation was $1,072,000, money which the district started saving in 2000-2001 for future capital improvements. Macko said the district did not have to sell bonds for the project.

As part of the project, the public restrooms were updated to meet standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Energy-saving lights were added to rooms, so if there is no movement for a period of time, the lights turn off. They added a computer lab, with three computers, for firefighters to do any homework.

“We’re pretty happy with it,” Macko said.

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