St. Francis to remodel fire department headquarters

The city of St. Francis plans to remodel its fire department headquarters this summer. The main goal is to expand its training room to allow for more productive and efficient training of staff.

“Right now, when we have a full-size group in training, we’re basically sitting on top of each other,” said St. Francis Fire Chief Dean Kapler.

For many years, the fire station housed both the fire and police departments. The police department moved out of the building when the city’s new police and public works facility opened in late 2012, freeing up much-needed space for the fire department. This remodeling project is part of the city’s 2014 capital improvement plan. It will also improve the space from which Allina’s ambulance service dispatches.

Kapler emphasized that the remodeling project does not involve expanding the building; the fire station’s footprint will stay the same.

The fire station is actually comprised of three separately constructed units connected together, the first portion of which was built in 1975. The fact that there are three separate components does present some challenges in the remodeling project, said Kapler.

The St. Francis City Council on April 7 authorized the creation of architectural drawings for the building. Once those are completed, the city will solicit bids for the project. The project cost is estimated at approximately $100,000 and should be completed in 2014.

The remodeling project will only address the building’s interior, said Kapler. The building’s exterior was upgraded last summer, with a new roof and exterior paint.

“This is going to be a great improvement to the building,” said Kapler. “We train a lot, and this will help make that training more productive and efficient.”