Plans unveiled for new Wheeling fire station

Publicly unveiled Wednesday, the architectural plans for a new firehouse in Wheeling depict a building that resembles - but isn't identical to - a station that opened elsewhere in town last year.

The 10,700-square-foot station at 135 McHenry Road would have three overhead bay doors, just like the fairly new Station No. 23 on Wheeling Road north of Hintz Road.

Additionally, those doors would be painted the same shade of red as a decorative panel over the center door, just like at Station No. 23, architect Jamie Zaura of a La Grange firm called 845 Design Group told Wheeling's plan commission during a review Wednesday night.

Facade materials and colors would be similar, too. Even a lot of the plants that would make up the landscaping outside the station can be found at Station No. 23, Zaura said.

But the rooflines, the buildings' shapes and their interior layouts would be different.

"Due to the shape of the lot at 135 McHenry Road, the proposed station needed to be oriented differently than Station 23," Fire Chief Mike McGreal said in an email. "The lot that Station 23 sits on is wide but not deep, and conversely the lot at 135 McHenry Road is narrow but deep."

The new station will replace the one that occupies two rooms in the police station on Community Boulevard, just south of Dundee Road. That fire station is officially known as Station No. 42, and the new house will retain that identifier.

The current station is manned by a three-person engine crew. A full-sized and fully staffed fire station should improve response times, officials have said.

Construction is expected to cost $5 million - just like Station No. 23.

Zaura's company designed Station No. 23, too.

Wheeling's Station No. 24, at 499 S. Milwaukee Ave., will remain in service.

The plan commission on Wednesday voted to recommend the village board approve the site plan and proposed building appearance. It also recommended the board rezone the property to accommodate the station and approve three requested zoning code variations.

The board could vote on the proposal when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday at village hall, 2 Community Blvd.

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