Renovations planned for Carol Stream fire station

  • The Carol Stream Fire Protection District is planning to renovate station No. 29, originally a gas station on Schmale and St. Charles roads.

      The Carol Stream Fire Protection District is planning to renovate station No. 29, originally a gas station on Schmale and St. Charles roads. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • The current roll call area can't accommodate a computer system and monitors that display emergency calls, Chief Rick Kolomay says. Watch the video at dailyherald.com/more.

      The current roll call area can't accommodate a computer system and monitors that display emergency calls, Chief Rick Kolomay says. Watch the video at dailyherald.com/more. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Workout equipment is squeezed into the apparatus floor at the station, long overdue for renovations, Carol Stream Fire Protection District leaders say.

      Workout equipment is squeezed into the apparatus floor at the station, long overdue for renovations, Carol Stream Fire Protection District leaders say. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • A backup generator would likely move out of the station house and into a separate, stand-alone facility, though architectural plans are still being designed.

      A backup generator would likely move out of the station house and into a separate, stand-alone facility, though architectural plans are still being designed. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Showers lack privacy, one of the space issues in station No. 29.

      Showers lack privacy, one of the space issues in station No. 29. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Sleeping cubes are housed in a 1993 addition to the former gas station.

      Sleeping cubes are housed in a 1993 addition to the former gas station. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Carol Stream Fire Chief Rick Kolomay.

      Carol Stream Fire Chief Rick Kolomay. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/16/2015 10:44 AM

The Carol Stream Fire Protection District plans to remodel its station at Schmale and St. Charles roads, officials say.

The building originally was designed as a gas station, not for the firefighter-paramedics who now staff it round-the-clock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The outdated station falls below safety standards set by professional organizations, lacks storage space and dates to an era when physical fitness for firefighters was an afterthought, Chief Rick Kolomay said.

A treadmill, boxing bag and other workout equipment is tucked into a corner of the apparatus floor where a fire truck and ambulance are parked. An addition for living quarters was built on the south side in 1993, but the rest of the station remains largely untouched.

In November, Kolomay expects to deliver a report to the board of trustees that oversees the district on what the renovations will look like and how much the project will cost. One option is to phase in the work over several years.

The board has decided against replacing the station -- estimated to cost roughly $6 million, Kolomay said. And the panel also doesn't want to pursue a property tax increase to finance improvements.

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Instead, trustees have increased ambulance fees, now aligned with what neighboring departments charge, Kolomay said.

The hikes, covered by insurance companies, are expected to generate about $150,000 annually, money that will go toward renovations, he said.

The fire chief said he would be pleased if the makeover began next spring. He's working with Williams Architects, an Itasca firm, to design upgrades and reconfigure the current space to add more room for living quarters, all within the existing footprint. The kitchen, refurbished in 2009, will remain the same.

"We're trying to plan for the future as much as we can," he said. "The needs and the demands of the fire service evolve through time."

That could mean adding a foyer for patients who, down the road, seek care outside of the hospital, say, for blood pressure checks. Storage of parts for fire trucks, equipment and utilities would likely move outside to a stand-alone facility in the station's rear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In 1975, the fire station opened on a site consultants said was ideal for the types and volume of emergency calls the district was receiving.

But the size is far smaller than the typical secondary station (not headquarters), which tend to cover 11,000 to 15,000 square feet, Kolomay said. The footprint for Station No. 29? Roughly 6,000 square feet.

The station also doesn't meet facility standards set by the National Fire Protection Association on decontaminating gear after fires and medical emergencies. And the station doesn't have the smaller, private bathrooms the association recommends for employees.

Five to six firefighter-paramedics stay there during a 24-hour shift.

"These guys are making the best out of a very difficult situation," Kolomay said.

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