Carol Stream fire district weighing Schmale Road station options

  • The Carol Stream Fire Protection District board on Monday toured station No. 29 on Schmale Road, where firefighters pointed out space constraints.

      The Carol Stream Fire Protection District board on Monday toured station No. 29 on Schmale Road, where firefighters pointed out space constraints. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, December 2015

 
 
Posted4/12/2016 5:10 AM

A new workout room. More storage. Remodeled bathrooms.

Those are among the renovations proposed by Carol Stream firefighters who staff station No. 29 in 24-hour shifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The fire protection district's board on Monday toured the station at Schmale and St. Charles roads, where they continue to consider whether to pay for improvements.

Architects last year did a study of the 6,200-square-foot building -- a former gas station with an addition built in 1993.

At the time, Williams Architects looked at "long-term solutions," President Mark Bushhouse said, including constructing a new station that was estimated to cost anywhere from roughly $5 to $6 million. Another option involved demolishing a portion of the station, replacing it and renovating the rest of the interior.

Now, trustees are weighing whether to reconfigure and make fixes within the existing footprint. The intent is to finance the facelift through the district's existing funds, Trustee Jim Panopoulos said.

"There's definitely some things that need to be addressed," he said. "There's no doubt. It's just a matter of how we're going to budget it."

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At least five firefighters and paramedics work around-the-clock out of the station, which has no insulation in its exterior walls.

"It's a single layer concrete block with no insulation," Bushhouse said. "Compared to today's energy codes and standards, this building is in a whole different category of cold."

On the north side of the building during the winter, two space heaters are kept running to keep pipes from freezing in a storage room, said Lt. Rick Bonk, a maintenance coordinator for the station and Carol Stream Firefighters Association Local 3192 president.

"Our bunk room is functional. It works, but we're on outside walls," Bonk said. "It's pretty cold in there in the winter time. Guys are literally on uninsulated walls."

The current workout room is "quite a bit smaller" than the district's other two stations, Bonk said. A treadmill, boxing bag and other equipment also sit in corner of the apparatus floor where a fire truck and ambulance are parked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're at max capacity and you can see the guys have done their best to utilize the apparatus floor for an additional work out area," he said.

The money for the project could be set aside in the district's new budget -- set to be adopted by early June -- or the work could be phased in over years.

"The idea of the generator moving outside and making a storage room over there to give them room up front for the workout room sounds like a great idea," Trustee Brian Jordan said. "We'll put numbers to it, and see what we can do for them."

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