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story.lead_photo.caption Lisa Powell and Heather, 3, watch the Jefferson City Fire Department conduct its groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the new Fire Station No. 2 site at 3025 Robinson Drive. Photo by Mark Wilson / News Tribune.

After two years of discussions and preparations, Jefferson City Fire Department and city officials Wednesday dug the first holes at the future site of the new Fire Station No. 2.

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Nearly 100 firefighters, city officials and community members gathered at 3025 Robinson Road, where the new fire station could be in service by early 2019.

"This is a reality," said Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham, who chairs the Jefferson City Public Safety Committee. "Fire Station 2 has been something that needs to be replaced for a mighty long time. The entire city of Jefferson should be excited that we're making progress for the safety of the men and women who protect us each and every day, so I think it's only befitting."

The Jefferson City Council approved a $2.9 million contract with Curtis-Manes-Schulte Inc. earlier this month to construct the 10,500-square-foot building. The new fire station will have 2.5 apparatus bays, a training room, bunk rooms and a gear storage room, along with additional amenities like a police substation, training mezzanine, and video surveillance and access control.

Furniture fixtures and equipment, breathing air compressor and bottle fill system, and the remaining professional services under contract are not included in the $2.9 million contract — a total of $216,450.

The total project cost is $3,188,724, about $470,000 under budget.

There may be a ribbon-cutting for the new fire station in early 2019, Fire Chief Matt Schofield said.

"The groundbreaking is kind of the first official activity to embark on that new journey," Schofield said. "Hopefully it ends in a successful completion of a fully functional fire station serving the community on the east side of town."

Former Jefferson City fire chief Bob Rennick said the new building is much needed since the current Fire Station No. 2 has outlived its life. The new station will be more centrally located among residential and commercial properties, he added, anticipating possible future city expansion.

The city still owns the current Fire Station No. 2 at 2400 E. McCarty St. and potentially will sell the building once the new Fire Station No. 2 is complete, Schofield said.

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