Plans four years in the making will come to fruition Wednesday, July 9, when New Gloucester officials break ground on a new fire station that officials hope will solve the town’s lack of space for its emergency services.

The shovels will go in the ground at 7 p.m. at the site on Lewiston Road, midway between Gloucester Hill Road and the Upper Village. The cost for the 10-bay, 15,000 square foot station is capped at $2.3 million, and the work will be done by Bunker & Savage Architects and Zachau Construction.

“We’re thinking that it should be done February 2009,” Town Manager Rosemary Kulow said Tuesday. “They should be pouring concrete today.”

The new facility cannot be finished soon enough for Fire Chief Gary Sacco, who said his crew does not have enough space to do the work that is now, with new regulations, required of them.

The new station will have administration and training areas, as well as gear and tool rooms.

“The stations were all great when all the trucks were smaller,” Sacco said. “We’ve grown out of this.”

The last work done to provide the Fire-Rescue Department with more space was completed in 1999, when a two-office addition was constructed at Lower Station on Intervale Street.

“We literally were working in apparatus bays,” said Sacco.

Even after that addition, the 45-person department needed more space. The crew members have to have workspace to complete the reports and documentation that is now required, and meeting areas are also necessary. The area they meet in now can only fit 25 people if tables are needed.

“It’s pretty limited,” said Sacco.

At Upper Station, off Lewiston Road, there are two bays for three trucks, and no office. At both stations, it is a tight fit, said Sacco.

“When trucks are in the bays, we have a foot to work around,” he said. “You have to pull the trucks out open cabinet doors. We dry the gear in the boiler room. We dry the hose in the boiler room when we have to.”

The planning for a new station began in July 2004 with the formation of a committee tasked with finding a location and coming up with a design. In December 2005, the town bought the 25-acre Lewiston Road site for $168,000. Along the way, committee members visited nearby fire stations, including those in Poland, Raymond, Oxford and Paris.

At a special town meeting earlier this year, residents approved final funding with a cap of $2.3 million. Of that total, $1.4 million will be bonded.

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