In a vote that took less than two minutes with no discussion, Mt. Juliet city commissioners took steps to forge ahead with plans to build a fire station on the town’s north side.
After more than six years trying to expand fire service and reduce response times, the quick vote nearly stunned City of Mt. Juliet Fire Department Chief Jamie Luffman as the commissioners unanimously selected a design firm for the nearly $3 million facility.
HFR Design of Franklin will provide design and engineering services for the new fire station. City officials expect to meet with the firm this month.
The city purchased a three-acre plot for $200,000 from the Wilson County Board of Education at the end of 2019, Luffman said. That will be the site of the new fire station on the corner of North Greenhill and Benton Douglas roads.
“The lack of discussion had me in a tailspin at first,” Luffman told the Wilson Post. “I was ready to defend all the numbers and the needs. I am so grateful, so grateful to all five commissioners who gave their unanimous approval to go forward with contract, plans and design.
Preliminary design plans for the 10,000-square-foot structure has it a one-story facility. There are plans for three drive-through equipment bays; a day room; kitchen; communications center; male dormitory with eight bunks and locker room; female dormitory with four bunks and locker room; laundry; three offices; storage rooms; and mechanical, electrical and IT rooms.
“We plan to have the station facing the new high school (Greenhill High School),” Luffman said. “Trucks will respond out of the Benton Douglas annex, and return on North Greenhill Road in the back entrance.”
The new fire station is expected to open in 12-14 months.
“We hope to get plans to the Planning Commission in about six to eight months,” Luffman said.
Mt. Juliet renegotiated bonds to make approximately $2.7 million available to build the fire station. Costs to operate and staff the new station will be discussed during the budget process next year, Luffman said.
Luffman said he will utilize an engine from Station 3 (the 7-year-old station in south Mt. Juliet) and pair it with the ladder truck that is stored at Greenhill Church. He said he hopes to acquire a mini pumper eventually.
Five design firms made design presentations in September to a review team including Luffman and the city’s planning director, finance director and public works director.
HFR had a big advantage because it designed the training station at the Tennessee Fire Academy and fire station, Luffman said.
“They were ahead of the creative process,” he said.