​Monteagle Approves $400,000 for Fire Hall

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At a special called meeting Feb. 12, the Monteagle City Council approved spending up to $400,000 for a new fire hall.
“We met with St. John Engineering, and we have a preliminary site plan,” said Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam.
The design calls for locating the 88 foot by 65 foot metal building on the lot where the former fire hall was located, at the corner of College Street and North Central Avenue. Interior specifics include a day room with a warming kitchen, training room, laundry, and a 53 foot by 65 foot three bay apparatus room with three 12-foot-high glass doors. Faux stone veneer would cover the lower three feet of the exterior.
“The aesthetics need to fit in with what’s around it,” Gilliam said.
“With a few minor changes it’s about what we envisioned,” said Fire Chief Mike Holmes. Holmes suggested several design modifications that “would make the building more functional to us as a department, but wouldn’t affect the footprint.”
Holmes recommended increasing the apparatus doors’ height to 14 feet. “Decherd Fire Department recently got a new ladder truck and had to notch their building and increase the door height to get the truck inside. So much goes on a truck now, and you can’t make them any wider so they need to get taller.”
Holmes also suggested a rear door to the apparatus room so trucks parked in the rear could exit the building without being blocked by trucks parked in the front.
The fire department will continue to use a small building on the rear of the lot, but Holmes expressed concern about inadequate drainage. “The building floods badly. It terrifies me when I unplug a truck standing in ankle deep water.”
The site plan would include storm drains Gilliam reassured him.
“We need to set a budget,” said Alderwoman Rebecca Byers.
“We’re going to build what we can afford to build,” Gilliam stressed. Monteagle’s budget includes $468,000 for a new fire hall. “I talked to a couple folks and we’re looking at a $350,000 price range.” Gilliam recommended and the council approved setting a ceiling of $400,000 on the construction cost.
A final design plan is needed from the engineers to determine a more accurate cost estimate.
Holmes asked for approval to pursue readily available grant opportunities to purchase a new cascade system so the department could fill their air bottles to capacity, an extractor dryer to clean turnout gear, and an exhaust system to remove vehicle fumes.
“I’m all for grants. Now’s the time to start,” Byers said.
The council meets in regular session on Feb. 25.