WEST TERRE HAUTE —
A new administrative and training center will allow for the remodeling of the Sugar Creek Fire Department to better house full-time and volunteer firefighters.
The new 3,000-square-foot administrative building and training center will cost an estimated $300,000 to $350,000, said Fire Chief Darrick Scott.
“Right now, the administration building is the same as the firehouse. We are just overloaded,” for space, Scott said, in the department’s firehouse at Fourth and National streets.
A bunk room for three full-time firefighters is currently a space of about 13 feet by 13 feet, Scott said; moving administrative offices out of the firehouse will free up space for firefighters. In addition, three administrative fire chiefs share a 20-foot by 20-foot room, with desks next to each other.
The current firehouse also does not have a conference room.
“The training center is in St. Mary’s in our north district and we want to move everything into the center of the district,” Scott said. “The [training] tower up north will stay there, but the classroom building will move down to West Terre Haute.”
Construction bids on the new administrative building/training center will be let within the next week, Scott said, and construction will start three to four weeks after awarding a bid. The new facility is expected to be open by late October or early November, Scott said.
The West Terre Haute firehouse was built in 1992, when there were separate West Terre Haute and St. Mary’s fire departments. The two departments merged in 1996 forming the Sugar Creek Fire Department.
Sugar Creek Fire Department now has three full-time firefighters, two part-time firefighters and 40 to 45 volunteers.
The Sugar Creek Fire Protection District was formed in 1997 to use property taxes to raise money for the fire department, equipment and training.
“There are not very many all-volunteer fire departments left as far as trustee-funded volunteer fire departments,” Scott said. “Honey Creek and Riley [townships] are fire protection districts, New Goshen and Fayette Township are both [fire protection] districts, and Otter Creek [township] is actively going for a fire protection district,” Scott said.
Prairieton and Prairie Creek Townships have a joint fire protection district.
“We are the second busiest volunteer fire department in the county,” Scott said.
Last year the Sugar Creek Fire Department made nearly 1,300 runs, which includes fire response and medical emergency responses. In 1992, the department made about 400 runs annually, Scott said.
Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or email@example.com.