Though turning a livestock pavilion into a fire station was no easy feat, Jackson Hole Fire/EMS personnel have officially moved into their temporary home at the Teton County Fairgrounds.
Elected officials gave Battalion Chief Matt Redwine the OK to enclose the pavilion to make a temporary fire station while Station No. 1 gets renovated.
“We are truly grateful to the contractor and design team and subcontractors for the efforts made to get us moved in,” Redwine told the Jackson Hole Daily. “It was a major collaboration of skills, knowledge and ability. Everyone worked together as a team.”
Firefighters and EMTs will work out of the fairgrounds fire station for about 18 months while their permanent home on Pearl Avenue is demolished, rebuilt and brought up to code.
Construction at Station No. 1 is expected to start in early July, Redwine said.
Meanwhile, the crew is settling in at the fairgrounds.
“We are still orientating ourselves and are aware of our new surroundings as far as horns and sirens in the vicinity of the equestrian area,” Redwine said.
The fire trucks haven’t spooked any horses yet, and Redwine said they’re trying to be good neighbors in the residential area.
“Things seem to be working really well,” he said.
Years of work coupled with money awarded to the department during past specific purpose excise tax elections made the new stations possible.
Redwine said he felt proud that they were able to enclose the pavilion and turn it into a working fire station for about $100 per square foot, including design. When firefighters no longer need the space, the building will become a community center.
Crews poured a 9-inch concrete floor to sustain the weight of fire trucks and built four bedrooms. Contractors kept the original red barn beams, which remain exposed inside.
“It’s the post-modern industrial look,” Redwine joked.
With three bays, firefighters will be able to park eight vehicles — fire engines, ambulances, a rescue truck, and support and wild land trucks — in the temporary station.
The building features a large commercial kitchen and a day room with a TV and a community room.
They kept a gravel parking lot, which Redwine said he hopes doesn’t get too muddy this summer or too snowy next winter.
“We had some tough decisions and had to ask ourselves what we could live without for a year,” Redwine said.
Because of power restrictions, firefighters will have to go to Station No. 7 in Adams Canyon to refill their oxygen tanks. Aside from a few small inconveniences, the building is a fully functioning fire station.
They’re already responding to calls for service and getting used to the new home base.
“We are seeing a significant increase in call volume already,” Redwine said. “I’m sure we will stumble through some new patterns.”
Redwine doesn’t expect response time to change since the fairgrounds is only a few blocks from Station No. 1. But he asks community members to speak up if they have concerns.
“We have an open-door policy if the public wants to address anything,” he said.
Administrative staff will still work out of their offices on Pearl Avenue while work is underway at Station No. 1.