“I’m really excited about this. I’ve been working on this for over three years,” Bramell said during a tour to check progress at the construction site Tuesday, Dec. 17.
The building will replace the station at 301 W. Grant Line Road, moving the crew housed there a mile to the west. Also under construction is a replacement for Station 92, at 1035 E. Grant Line Road, about 2 miles west of the old station at 22844 S. Seventh St. in Banta.
Both stations are being built by Diede Construction of Woodbridge, near Lodi, for a combined cost of $9.43 million.
The decision to move the fire stations to the west was based on a 2007 Standards of Coverage report. The new locations will serve the population better, according to Bramell, by reducing the fire department’s total reflex time — the time from when the department receives an emergency call to when the first engine arrives — within city limits.
Construction of the two stations began in April. Station 92 is a few weeks behind 96, because the soil at the site needed extra preparation.
Both stations are expected to be complete by their April 1 deadline.
“There will be a little bit of logistical things we have to do. These aren’t additional stations, they are replacements of existing stations,” Bramell said. “We have to move some of the existing equipment and furnishings, and some will be new. If all goes well, we could be in by mid-April.”
Both new stations have the same 5,136-square-foot floor plan with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a day room.
Bramell said the plan incorporates lessons from other stations.
Separate rooms for a work table, compressors and turnout coats and will keep clutter out of the engine bay, where the fire engines are parked.
The layout is designed to help fire crew members reach the engine bay quickly from any part of the station, speeding their response, Bramell said.
The division chief, who has worked many shifts at Station 92 in Banta, said age has caught up with the building. It was built nearly 70 years ago, and new fire engines fit inside with a little more than an inch to spare.
Engine bays at the new stations are roomy enough to hold any of the Tracy Fire Department’s engines and trucks and will accommodate foreseeable changes in equipment size.
A safety feature built into the new stations is a way to drive straight into the engine bay from behind. At Station 92 in Banta, engines must be backed in. The same is true at Station 97 on Central Avenue, which is not being replaced.
During construction, workers also removed a section of the median on Grant Line Road so fire engines can respond to calls to the east and west.
Equipment and three-person crews will move from the old stations to the new. Station 96 will house Engine 96 and the department’s hazardous-materials response truck, while Station 92 will have Engine 92 and the water tender truck.
“We have encouraged crews to come by and look at the construction as the stations start to come together — they realize it’s going to be a nice facility for them,” Bramell said.
The Tracy Rural Fire District Board of Directors has not decided what to do with the Banta station when it is vacated, Bramell said.
He added that the city is looking at using the old Station 96, at the entrance to El Pescadero Park, for storage and maintenance.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or email@example.com.