Construction of new fire station under way
By Diana Kuyper Special to The News-Sun November 30, 2012 8:12PM
Construction of Lake Villa Fire Department Station 4 located at 37800 Rte. 59. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 2, 2013 6:04AM
LAKE VILLA — Construction of a fourth fire station is well under way on the former Gavin North School property.
Following approval by township voters last year, ownership of two acres of the Lake Villa Township West Campus property on Route 59 south of Grand Avenue was transferred to the Lake Villa Township Fire Protection District.
“We were ready to go as soon as we received the deed for the property,” said Fire Protection District President James Stout. “Construction is going well and we will be under roof soon with construction to continue through the winter months.”
A west side fire station had been in the district’s long-range plan for years, Stout said. “We have a lot of area to cover. To reduce response time our goal has been to have stations on the west and east ends of the district in addition to our two central stations.”
The fire district is using the same architect and contractor that designed and built the Lindenhurst station in 2008 to serve the east side of the district.
Sente Rubel Bosman Lee Architects designed a building with a flat roof to complement the low-profile neighboring township center, said Stout. Camosy Construction is building the new station for approximately $4 million.
“Our goal is by the time we get this station open all four stations will be staffed full time,” said Stout, estimating the new fire and rescue station will be finished in the spring.
The district was able to save taxpayers a significant amount of money by not having to purchase property for the new station. “We are funded by the same taxpayers, so it made sense to use the donated property for the new station.”
A successful referendum in 2005 allowed the fire district to build a new station on Grass Lake Road in Lindenhurst and a fourth station to serve the west end of the 26-square-mile district and full-time staffing of all four stations. Stout said taxes will not be raised to build the station because it was included in the 2005 referendum to increase the tax levy.
While the fourth station is built, the other three stations are staffed and have three ambulances and two back-up vehicles in addition to fire equipment, following consolidation of fire and rescue squad services in May 2011 that is saving the district more than $400,000 this year.
“We expect to see an even greater savings in the future,” said Stout of the consolidation of the rescue and fire services under the umbrella of the Lake Villa Fire Department.
The consolidated crew is under Fire Chief Frank Slazes. The fire district owns Station 3 at 1911 Grass Lake Road in Lindenhurst and Station 2 at 910 Grand Ave., Lake Villa, across from the library. Station 1 in downtown Lake Villa is owned by the Lake Villa Fire Department. There are fire trucks and ambulances at all three stations.
“It’s been a successful process to get all our firefighters cross-trained and on board with both fire and rescue services,” said Stout. “Consolidation was a big undertaking but now that we are through it we are saving a lot of money.”
“The future is looking good. By the time we are finished with this station we will be staffed and equipped at all four stations,” said Stout. “It’s all been for the betterment of the community.”