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Dix Hills readies for firehouse renovation

A rendering of the four-bay substation that will

A rendering of the four-bay substation that will be part of the Dix Hills Fire Department's $8 million capital project. Photo Credit: Morton Buildings

The Dix Hills Fire Department is about to embark on an $8 million capital project that will include renovating its existing headquarters building, construction of a new, four-bay substation and significant exterior site renovations.

The work will take place at the department’s headquarters at 115 E. Deer Park Rd. in Dix Hills, near the Northern State Parkway. Work should start next spring and be completed sometime in 2018.

“The board worked very closely with residents and community groups and our members to develop this plan,” said Larry Feld, one of the department’s five commissioners. “We’re very proud of it.”

Feld said the existing headquarters building, built in 1956, has a lot of issues that will be addressed in the renovation. Right now, he said, the building no longer meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Fire Protection Association standards; it has cracked masonry and brick and is missing mortar; has undersized sanitary systems and plumbing issues requiring modernization; is not handicapped accessible; is too small to safely accommodate modern fire and ambulance vehicles; and has extensive exterior erosion, drainage and paving problems.

The 10,000-square-foot substation will be a pre-engineered building, placed in the north parking lot and will be used to house two engines and two ambulances, Feld said.

“We’re running out of space,” he said. “We’ve always been tight; also we want to house our vehicles to extend the life of them.”

He said the department currently rents off-site storage for records, but the additional space will allow storage on-site, leading to cost savings.

The renovations and updates will be paid for with $1.5 million in capital reserve funds and a 25-year, $6.5 million municipal bond that voters approved Nov. 1.

In 2011, voters rejected a $19.75 million bond for the district to build a new headquarters. Residents objected to the cost and said district officials did not seek their input.

Feld said district officials have worked with the community since then to come to an agreement on the project, striking a balance between safety, efficiency and fiscal responsibility.

Sheila Saks, a member and former president of House Beautiful Dix Hills Civic Association Inc., said that in 2011, residents objected to the considerable costs and lack of input, and added that the way things were handled this time was much improved.

“We didn’t voice any objections to this project,” Saks said. “We were able to ask questions and get details of the project, and were updated periodically.”

Feld said he thinks the community sees that it’s growing and that fire facilities need updating.

“We’ve had such good, positive feedback,” he said. “We’re happy we’re getting it done.”

Dix Hills Fire Department capital project costs

  • Headquarters building renovation: $4 million
  • Pre-engineered substation: $3 million
  • Property site work: $1 million
  • Project total: $8 million

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