Department gets permits approved by county
Four months after originally approaching county commissioners with the request, the Wesley Chapel Fire Department is moving forward with construction of its new station.
The department hired Charlotte-based Edison Ford to handle construction of the project, and officials will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. at 315 Waxhaw-Indian Trail Road, behind the station the department is replacing.
“We’re glad to finally be able to start construction,” Fire Department President Butch Plyler said. “Now we can move forward.”
Wesley Chapel has a second, newer station on New Town Road.
For more than two years, the department has attempted to replace the older 39-year-old station. The current facility lacks air conditioning, the septic tank backs up and the two fire trucks can barely fit inside the bay. The new 24,000-square-foot facility will offer 12 cubicles for sleeping quarters, which the current station lacks; game and training rooms; offices; storage; and an updated kitchen.
The argument with the county started, however, when the department found itself in need of 720 gallons of sewer capacity, more than currently allotted to meet the needs of the enlarged station. The department acquired the adjacent parcel of land, which had 360 gallons of allocated sewer capacity, and hoped the county would help with the rest.
But county commissioners wanted the department to build a much smaller station, pointing to a recently completed consultant’s study that called for an 11,000-square-foot facility.
Having the permits to move forward with the project, the department board decided to proceed with construction, without that final 360 gallons. The department can still operate the new station without that extra capacity.
Edison Ford won the contract with its $3.824 million bid. The department outlined in its budget that it will pay for the new station, substituting one payment for another. This year marks the last year Wesley Chapel has to make $360,000 in payments on its two fire trucks. Adopting that payment schedule, the department could pay for the new station in 10 years, without any increased cost to taxpayers.
Department members are just glad to stop fighting for the station and break ground.
“It’s been a long two years,” Plyler said. “We’re tickled to get under way and a bit anxious to move in.”