The Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department is preparing to open a new emergency operations building and events center early next month.
According to Fire Department Chairman Jim Dwyer, the new facility is being built to provide the highest level of service for Hampstead and Carroll County.
The current building at 1341 N. Main St., Hampstead, was built in the 1970s, Dwyer said, and was not designed to house service crews or meet material cleaning and detoxification requirements dangerous and carcinogenic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical nature of fire and medical emergency services as the first line of assessment and response to protect residents and provide lifesaving care, Dwyer said. He also stressed the need to separate frontline emergency service areas used by firefighters and other personnel from public access areas commonly used for fundraising, public service education , social events and community gatherings.
On April 4, the department will break ground on the first phase of construction of a new fire and EMS operations station at the site of the current fire station, as well as a new event center, which will be at the back of the property. Work on both buildings is expected to be completed in early 2024.
The fire department originally planned to launch the multi-year project in the spring of 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed regulatory review of construction plans. Final approval has been postponed to December 2021.
This delay, combined with an unforeseen increase in the cost of materials and supply chain issues, resulted in a significant increase in the cost of construction.
Construction costs for the project now total about $7.5 million, a 25% increase from last year, Dwyer said. Because these capital investments are the responsibility of the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department, the department secured a $5 million low-interest loan through Carroll County and a $1 million dollars through the Farmers & Merchants Bank.
Dwyer said the department has requested an additional loan from the county for an additional $1.5 million, which has yet to be approved.
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The fire department also held a fundraising campaign to help raise funds for the project. Donations are accepted at https://www.hampsteadvfd.org/content/campaign/.
The project will begin with the construction of an interim operations building, which will house all vehicles, equipment and personnel for approximately one year while the main station is demolished and rebuilt.
Once the new station is complete, this building will house all emergency vehicles and contain offices, sleeping quarters, training rooms, a kitchen, and storage and cleaning capabilities to keep gear and equipment safe. intervention ready to be used.
Once the station is complete, the interim operations building will be converted into a fully functional social events center, designed to accommodate wedding receptions, parties, meetings and fundraisers with a capacity of 325 people.
Dwyer said it will provide a much-needed upscale social venue for the community.
The county is home to 14 independent fire companies, Dwyer said, and Carroll County is developing a countywide combined fire and EMS system to provide consistency in advanced life support. and organization in the county.
“It’s a partnership between volunteers and the county to provide a consistent level of emergency service on the EMS side,” Dwyer said. The Carroll County Combined Fire and EMS Department will continue to use buildings and ambulances in Hampstead.