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Soddy-Daisy is expanding its Fire Hall #3, located on the city's south end near Veterans Park.

Instead of constructing a new building — for which the estimated cost was $2.2 million — the city now plans to gut the existing building and add five new bays, said City Manager Janice Cagle.

The city commission approved at its Nov. 7 meeting an agreement with Louis Wamp Architect & Associates for $30,000 for the redesign. Once complete, Cagle said Fire Hall #3 will be similar to Fire Hall #2 but with an additional bay.

Although the city does not yet have a firm estimate for the overall cost of the expansion, she said city officials hope the cost will be somewhere between $800,000 and $900,000.

A portion of the cost will be covered by $240,000 donated by the Red Bank and Soddy-Daisy Charitable Foundation, as well as a $50,000 donation from the discretionary fund of former Hamilton County Commissioner Fred Skillern during his final term of office, said Cagle.

Arnold Stulce, who administers the funds for the Red Bank and Soddy-Daisy Charitable Foundation, told the board of commissioners in March that the foundation would not be contributing any additional funds toward the construction of Fire Hall #3, and said the reason was that the board had not yet moved forward with construction of the fire hall. City officials responded that the cost of constructing a new building was continuously rising and they didn't have the funds to cover costs.

The Soddy-Daisy Fire Department received 1,300 calls from Jan. 1 through Dec. 12, 2019, Cagle said, and has an average response time of seven minutes. Having more trucks ready to deploy on the south end should cut down on the response time in that area.

The longer the fire response time, the higher the cost of insurance for residents and businesses within the service area, added Mayor Geno Shipley.

Email Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com.

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