A new $3.5 million downtown Malta fire station should break ground this fall and be open within less than a year, representatives of the town’s two fire companies said.
“Hopefully, if all goes well, we’ll be in the ground by Labor Day,” said C. Michael Ingersoll, a principal in The LA Group of Saratoga Springs, which is doing the site design.
Construction is expected to take nine or 10 months, he said.
The new fire station will be built on Hemphill Place, in the Parade Ground Village development, near the heart of the downtown area. It will be operated by the Fire Companies of Malta, a new, nonprofit organization formed by the Malta Ridge and Round Lake volunteer fire companies.
Plans for the new building, which are supported by town officials, arose from a 2009 fire protection study that found a new central station is needed because of the amount of development in the downtown area. It will also be the closest station to the GlobalFoundries Fab 8 computer chip plant at the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
Currently, Malta’s two main fire stations are at the extreme north and south ends of the town, with each company maintaining a small substation on Route 9 near downtown. Those substations will be closed or used for storage.
Since serious planning started last fall, the fire companies have hired The LA Group and Butler, Rowland Mays Architects of Ballston Spa to design the building. On June 18, they are expected to go before the Malta Planning Board with a site plan for a two-story building with about 14,000 square feet of space.
It would have room for Malta Ridge’s new aerial truck, as well as other equipment. There would also be a radio communications room and offices, but no training or social rooms, said architect Steven Rowland.
“This is really meant to be a satellite station,” he said. “It is built around the equipment that will be based there.”
There is also space on the second floor that could be turned into living quarters if the station ever has to be staffed full-time, Rowland said.
“We can’t predict what will happen in the future, but you’re seeing more and more volunteer companies adding paid staff because of growth in their communities,” he said.
Firefighters had previously considered building on town-owned land on Dunning Street, but that location was opposed by some residents of the adjoining Luther Forest housing development.
The fire companies are working with Bonacio Construction of Saratoga Springs and believe the building can be constructed within a $3.5 million budget. Money for the project will be raised through the town fire tax.
“We’re trying to stay within the $3.5 million figure,” said Fred Lee, president of the Fire Companies of Malta.