By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent December 6, 2012 3:12PM
Kevin Egolf of Nims Construction works on the study-meeting area at Merrillville (Ind.) Fire Station No. 1 on Nov. 27, 2012. Renovations are under way to accommodate the town's first full-time firefighters. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 5, 2013 2:11AM
MERRILLVILLE — Renovations at Fire Station No. 1 on 73rd Avenue, needed to accommodate Merrillville’s first full-time firefighters, are well under way and should be complete by early January, Fire Chief Ed Yerga said.
Yerga said the electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work are done, and workers recently finished installing dry wall and started mudding and taping the walls. He said floor coverings would come after that, then painting the walls.
“Everything will come together quickly now,” he said.
Yerga said the building needed a renovation, with or without the full-time staff.
“Some areas haven’t been touched since 1981,” he said.
Yerga recently took the Post-Tribune on a walk-through of the two-story station, which includes an upstairs living quarters and main-floor station.
A men’s bunk room with four beds, shower room and bathroom will serve most of the 14 full-time firefighters. A separate bunk room, bathroom and shower will serve a lone woman full-time firefighter.
The captain will have a separate bunk room and office.
The rooms were still down to the dry wall and needed flooring, paint and furnishings. The bathrooms also needed fixtures and tile.
Also upstairs will be a day room, or TV room, with sofas and recliners, a training room with a pull-down screen and projector, and an enlarged kitchen to account for a larger stove and refrigerator, Yerga said.
Off the kitchen will be a rubber-matted deck with a grill for outdoor cooking and eating on nice days. Downstairs, where the trucks and equipment are housed, new lighting and garage doors were installed.
“We were trying to get new garage doors for about 10 years; it was time,” Yerga said, adding that all the gear racks also are new.
The ceiling still needs to be painted; Yerga said it will be done by firefighters.
All three governing bodies overseeing the Merrillville Fire Protection District — the Merrillville Town Council, Ross Township Board, and Merrillville Fire Protection Territory Board — had approved a contract for $369,800 to Semford Management and Construction in Crestwood, Ill., to do the renovations. Yerga said the company hired local union workers.