LAFAYETTE — Celebrating the grand opening Wednesday of Lafayette Fire Station No. 7, Capt. Steven Spain said the new building was a far cry from the undersized and dilapidated building it replaced.

Construction on the new fire station at 345 Kaliste Saloom Road began in January 2010, one month after the previous fire station at the site was demolished.

“We’re glad to be back to serve our district,” Spain said.

While the new building was under construction, Spain said firefighters worked out of another fire station on Pinhook Road. Returning to the station should cut response times in half, he said.

Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit said the new station was built for $850,000 and is about twice as large as the former building.

When the original fire station was built in 1969 at a cost of $69,000, the area was mostly rural with only a few homes and little to no commercial buildings, Benoit said.

Today, the station is located in a busy area full of large neighborhoods and commercial buildings, he said.

The station will be staffed by six or seven firefighters and will house a fire truck and an aerial ladder truck, Benoit said.

The station also provides sleeping space for all the firefighters, a large kitchen and living room area.

“It’s a better type of design for today’s current standards,” Benoit said.