St. George Fire Department

St. George Fire Department

The St. George Fire Department is getting a new station and expanded training and maintenance facilities which officials said will help accommodate growth and development in the area.

The department last week approved a low bid for construction that came in just under $13 million, said St. George fire spokesman Eldon Ledoux. He said construction is expected to be complete within the next 16 months.

The three new buildings — a fire station, training facility and maintenance space — will all be on the Airline Highway lot, between Highland Road and Stumberg Lane, that already houses the department's headquarters and administrative offices.

The complex will provide "more of a homebase" for St. George firefighters, Ledoux said.

He said the department will also move some of its dispatchers into the new facilities, which will give the parish another communications site in addition the centralized 911 operations center on Harding Boulevard. The St. George site could operate independently or serve as backup in the event of a disaster, Ledoux said.

The new fire station will replace the one nearby on Castille Road which Ledoux said is the only station the department rents. The maintenance building will allow the department to complete more mechanical work for its vehicles on-site.

St. George residents voted in 2018 to extend two existing fire taxes through 2034. They had already approved the two tax measures in 2015 to fund capital improvements and general operations for the fire protection district through 2024, then approved another 10 years.

Officials said that promise of future revenue will help the department obtain funding for the $12.8 million construction project.

Next up on the department's wish list is another fire station near Bluebonnet Boulevard and Nicholson Drive that would reduce response times in that area, which has seen significant population growth in recent years. That project wasn't included in the recent bid.

"These are all part of our long-term plans," Ledoux said. "It's not a culmination of the department's growth by any means, but it will put us in a position to serve the public for some time."

The project is starting just months before voters will consider whether to incorporate a new city of St. George, which would carve out a fifth municipality in the southeastern corner of East Baton Rouge Parish. Supporters of the proposal, which has prompted heated debate from both sides, have stipulated that the St. George Fire Department would provide fire protection services and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office would fulfill law enforcement needs.

Editor's note: This article was changed on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, to clarify that voters will be asked to consider whether to incorporate a new city of St. George. 

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