SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — City leaders in Springdale approved engineering contracts for two fire stations Monday night and are looking to improve infrastructure for the community.
A new station four will be built on property that the city owns just west of Central Junior High School, according to Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse.
It will still be close to the current Station Four on Elm Springs Road.
“We knew we didn’t need to move it far,” Sprouse said.
Rick Boston, captain at Station 4, says he has mixed emotions because the station feels like home, but it is time for a change.
“Every family grows, and sometimes families move into a new house. And that’s what we’re looking to do, is just move around to the corner, to a little nicer, a little bigger house that’ll make us more efficient in our duties,” Boston said.
Assistant Chief Jim Vaughn says the station outlived its time.
“The station was initially built for one fire and fire truck and when they opened it, it only had two people assigned to it today. That has become one of our busiest stations in the city with six firefighters assigned there with an ambulance and a fire engine running out of there,” Vaughn said.
The current station four has its bunker gear in the back of the room, which he says is an issue.
“The standard is to build your stations with their own separate bunker gear room where that gear gets stored and some of that can off gas and ventilate out to the outside without contaminating the rest of the building,” Boston said.
The new station will have a separate room for bunker gear along with dedicated areas for fitness, more room for trucks, and overhead doors at the back of the building.
At the current station, the gym space is in the same area as the fire vehicles.
And because they do not have an overhead door at the back, they have to watch for incoming traffic, get the truck lined up just right, and then back into the station.
They will be able to pull right through with the new Station 4.
He also said the new station will allow everyone to have their own bedroom and bathroom.
“So you get a lot more privacy, a lot more quiet. I expect to sleep a lot better in that station,” Boston said.
The current Station Four had a dorm-like feel to it with a thin wall separating the beds.
There are no quiet places to study. Currently, they have to study inside the report room which is adjacent to the living room and dining area.
“You just always hear the TV and the other guys carrying on conversations and it’s hard to really focus on what you’re trying to study,” Boston said.
Sprouse says the current station four will be put to another use by the fire department after the new station is built.
“We’ll be able to maintain both properties,” he said.
The city is also looking to build station 10 which will require 12 additional firefighters according to Vaughn.
“This new facility of Station 4 and then the addition of Station 10 just is going to take us into the future for many, many years,” Vaughn said.
Fire Station 4 is funded by the city’s budget reserves and Station 10 is coming out of the 2023 bond issue that voters approved earlier this year.
The city also talked about eventually building more parking lots downtown.
Sprouse says there isn’t a problem with parking in the city as of now but they have seen an increase in residents and density downtown.
Sprouse is asking H3 Design Studio, a consulting company, to forward a proposal to look at their downtown master plan area and the specific issues around the future parking needs and locations.
With the growth of Springdale, the city is trying to stay ahead to make sure they are prepared for the future if parking does become an issue.
“By no means is it too early to be getting some really important data on how we best look forward to address those needs,” Sprouse said.
H3 helped the city with its master plan back in 2015 and its master plan update that was finished in 2022.
“We’ve always been pleased with their work,” Sprouse said.