After more than 30 years, Engine 29 will get a top to bottom upgrade. The current station sits at 4811 MacArthur Blvd. outside of Georgetown Patch's coverage area, but the ladder truck serves the wider Georgetown community.
Chief Christopher W. Jordan oversees the Property Management Division for D.C. Fire and EMS. He said "the current structure is in absolutely deplorable condition." The facility is not up to current building codes and shows the wear and tear of years of use by the crews who serve the neighborhood.
The upgrades will include an additional bay to house the ambulance. Right now the ambulance is parked in front of one of the other vehicles. With a mere six inches between the two, to describe it as tight quarters would be an understatement. Other changes include an electrical upgrade, an HVAC upgrade, new separate male and female locker rooms, a new kitchen with a dishwasher and other smaller changes. The renovation and upgrades will take the building from the substandard to meeting LEED Silver standards.
The project has been in the works since 2004 and has the necessary funds to support the estimated $2.9 million makeover, according to Chief Jordan. Part of the reason for the delay was the agency's attempt to work out a temporary solution that would prevent the Georgetown area from losing a vital resource in its Fire and EMS.
The agency expects to begin construction of a temporary station for Engine 29, Truck 5 and Ambulance 29 beginning in mid to late September. Once the temporary station and living quarters are built, the resources and crew will relocate to the campus of the water filtration plant at 5900 MacArthur Blvd, Chief Jordan explained.
The temporary location is across from Sibley Hospital and is still in the service area. In the past, station renovations meant that trucks would be added to other nearby stations and crews split up until renovations finished. The Engine 5 house on Dent Pl., however, would not have room for the ladder truck housed at Engine 29; locating it elsewhere would have affected response times. "Chief Rubin's goal is to keep [the trucks] in the area to keep response times down," explained Jordan.
So the agency came up with the current plan. The temporary facility should cost $835,000 to cover the structure for the engines and truck and for trailer facilities for the crew. The contract for the new facility goes out to bid in December and construction will likely begin in March 2011. The entire process should take 18 months, according to Jordan.