AINSWORTH — The Ainsworth Fire Department was expecting to have its new fire station built by the end of 2019, but due to a few setbacks it will not see completion for at least a few more months, according to the fire chief.
Waylon Schultz, Fire Chief for the Ainsworth Fire Department, said the concrete work was completed in the fall and the building and framework were completed recently. Now, crews are beginning to work on completing the lining and electrical work on the inside of the building.
Schultz said the delays were caused by the cold and snow southeast Iowa experienced in the early fall and also by unforeseen circumstances. He said as crews were working to tear down the existing station, they found asbestos which took extra time to eradicate effectively.
“We got started (on construction) three weeks to a month later than we intended,” he said.
In the meantime, the department was able to store its trucks and equipment at a maintenance building in Marr Park. He said the folks at Washington County Conservation were able to rearrange their equipment to make room for them until the new station is completed. He said the goal right now is to get the bays completed so the trucks can be moved in. Construction on the rest of the station will continue after that.
The former fire station was originally built in the early 70s and was a gas station until the fire department purchased it in 1983, he said. As the years went on, the scope of the work the fire department completed grew which called for more equipment. The new equipment was also larger than the existing and firefighters quickly found the space was too small in order for them to store everything.
In addition to the lack of space, the building was beginning to fall apart due to water damage. He said the posts holding the building up were beginning to rot and made the building unsafe to work in.
The new station will be much safer and larger than the last. It will be 112-feet-wide by 60-feet-deep and have two floors. A meeting room, office, kitchen, bathrooms, storage, exercise and training rooms will be added to the new space.
Schultz said this is a big step up from the previous confines where the exercise equipment was housed in the kitchen.
The total project was estimated to cost $463,000 but due to added construction costs, Schultz said that number has increased. He is not sure by how much, but the department still is fundraising and collecting donations ahead of the new completion date which is expected to be within the next two months.