The town of Chapel Hill is one step closer to a new joint fire station and office building. The Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to contribute a portion of $520,000 to the plan to house an EMS unit in the new building at its meeting Tuesday.

The new building will replace Fire Station 2 on Hamilton Road. Kim Woodward is the EMS Operations Manager for Orange County. She said, even though the Chapel Hill Fire Department has five stations, there is no room for growth. She said there is currently no room for EMS to co-exist in any location, especially Fire Station 2.

“It’s about 3400 square feet,” she said. “And basically from the growth of the fire department, they’re very tightly quartered in there.”

The town and county are working with company East-West Partners to develop plans for the new building, and to make sure there will be enough room. Chapel Hill is set to pay up to $1 million for the new plan, and East-West Partners will pay $1.75 million.

The board initially agreed to pay the remaining $520,000 to get the job done, and Fire Station 2 is set to be demolished this month, but Commissioner Barry Jacobs said it’s important that as many building structure materials be recycled as possible.

“We approve the agreement authorizing the manager to execute the agreement of the transfer of appropriated funds,” he said. “With the stipulation that the contract with the private entity include deconstruction and recovery of recyclable materials before demolition.”
There is already a town ordinance in place that requires that recyclable materials be recovered if possible before a building is demolished. Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Lawrence said there will also be a demolition permit issued by the town, which will include the recycling ordinance in it. He also said the Department will do everything they can to recycle everything they can.

“We are harvesting some of the equipment that we would need—that we own out of the building,” he said. “And the demolition contractor will take care of the rest of the building for us.”

Woodward said the most important part of the new building is that it be made to house both EMS and the fire department, similar to other fire stations in Orange County.

“There hasn’t been space available, quite frankly, for EMS at their existing fire stations,” she said. “So we’re very excited for this future endeavor. Our other co-locations are going very well.”

Orange County EMS plans to move medic three from its Odum Village location to the new station after the building’s projected completion in January 2018.