GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A major upgrade is coming for one of Gulfport’s fire stations. Station 9 in the Orange Grove area will be relocating into a brand new facility.
The Orange Grove station has around 2 decades of history in its current building on Dedeaux Road, but it won’t be long before firefighters bid it a bittersweet goodbye.
Fire Chief Michael Beyerstedt says the aging building has outlived its functionality. “It wasn’t designed to be a fire station. It was a temporary solution that we’ve been in for umpteen years now, so now it’ll be a chance for us to build a facility that’s designed to be a fire station,” he said.
Firefighters won’t be moving far. The new Orange Grove fire station will be built just a mile down the road and will replace a current old building on the lot.
Right now, an architect is working on the new station’s design. The estimated $2.5 million project will not only be bigger in size, but it will also bring with it big improvements that the current building doesn’t have, like a classroom for training.
“That’s our training area for that district. So its difficult for us to have good training sessions in that area," said Beyerstedt. He says the station is one of the department’s busiest, averaging around 45 to 70 calls a week. The station already has pretty good response times, according to Beyerstedt, but he says aspects of the new facility’s design, like shortening the distance from firefighter living quarters to the truck bay will help lower them even further.
The improvements will play a role in maintaining the city’s Class Two fire rating, which is currently the highest in the state.
“Just any little thing we can do to improve things up in that area is the goal of ours. The training, the housing for the men, those are all important things to us.”
It’ll also bring a big boost to the city’s public safety.
“Those kind of improvements make the Gulfport fire department stronger, they make our community stronger, and they make Gulfport a safer place to live and work, and that’s the end goal of everything we do is to enhance the life quality for our residents and visitors," said Beyerstedt.
Chief Beyerstedt said construction for the project is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of next year.
The department will also be adding a new fire truck to station 7 at Cowan Lorraine and Highway 90. According to Beyerstedt, the truck will replace one of its older trucks to fall in line with regulations of the ratings bureau.