Firefighters Prepare for West Side Fire Station Opening, New Fire Map

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

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By Jill Kasparie

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Workers are wrapping up construction on the new west side fire station in Cedar Rapids.

While firefighters were hoping to get inside before Christmas, it'll now be a post-Christmas gift to them. A few delays pushed back the opening a bit.

The west side fire station is at Edgewood Road and Crestwood Drive Northwest. Fire officials said the cost was about $2.6 million. City leaders decided to build a west side station after relocating the Central Fire Station to southeast Cedar Rapids after the flood.

The city has worked long on this plan to change up fire service. This station is the final piece of the puzzle.

All of the rooms are coming together and workers are adding the final touches.

"It should be released to us on 27th of December. It would be nice if we could get in sooner but that's when they can release the building to us,” said Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Hopper.

Firefighter Ted Wieland is already looking forward to the extra space, but he knows working in the new building will take some getting used to.

"The new station three will be out on the west side versus the east side, so it’s going to be totally new directions and getting to know the maps,” Wieland said.

"One of the big advantages to moving station three from B Avenue over to the west side is that we can really serve a populated area of our community a lot faster than we’ve been able to in the past,” said Battalion Chief Andy Olesen.

Fire officials say when the west side fire station is complete 12.5 percent more people will be within 1.5 miles of a fire station. This will also trigger a big change for the city's entire fire service.

"Instead of making some simple changes around the edges, we really started over with our new map,” Olesen said.

After about a year and a half of work, crews will start using a new response map that's currently in testing. Planners said it will be a dramatic shift. It will start as soon as the doors open on the new west side station.

"You make a change this large with this big of an impact, there's a little bit of anxiety involved,” Olesen said.

Still, crews said they are ready for the change and ready for the new department to open.

After all this, it's back to the normal routine.

"After this we respond to calls,” Hopper said.

Fire officials said there are no more upcoming plans for any other new buildings.

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