Paola’s Fire Department Gets New Communications Building | Local News

PAOLA — The Paola Fire Department will soon have a more reliable location for its offsite communications equipment.

Currently, the radio equipment that operates the department’s dispatch system is housed in an old metal building under the city’s water tower, near the intersection of Oak and Tower streets.

Fire Chief Andy Martin told Paola City Council members last fall that the building is showing its age and needs to be replaced. There are several holes in the stucco exterior because Martin said woodpeckers have taken a liking to looking for insects in the walls.

“Basically right now it’s a garden shed,” Martin said.

Last August, the city issued a request for proposals to find a contractor to build a new communications shelter on the site. The city received responses from Triangle Builders and Legacy Contractors.

In September, Paola City Council members selected Triangle Builders to construct the 10-by-10-by-8-foot building for $73,400. Legacy’s proposal would have cost $98,709.

Some board members have expressed concern about the high bid amounts, but Martin explained that the equipment must be protected by grounding and walls thick enough to withstand winds of up to 150 mph.

Plans approved by Triangle Builders include a concrete slab floor and concrete roof, and 8 inch thick concrete walls with 2 inches of foam on both sides.

“It’s a concrete pillbox,” Martin said. “It’s going to take a lick.”

The building will be larger and more energy efficient than the current building, Martin said, and it will also have heating and cooling windows to control the temperature. Martin said cooling units are especially needed because the equipment can get hot.

“Radios don’t like heat, so keeping it cool is key,” Martin said.

Work is currently underway to build the new communications shelter, and Martin said the old building may be demolished in the future by firefighters as part of a training session.

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