The exterior of the facility seen in the summer. Fire Chief Robert Phillips said the building will have the latest in technology.

The exterior of the facility seen in the summer. Fire Chief Robert Phillips said the building will have the latest in technology.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Fall construction update

‘Everyday you can see progress being made’

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 22, 2020


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — As the calendar turns to fall, construction is headed into the home stretch for a Macomb Township public safety building.

As of mid-September, the contractor for the 37,000-square-foot Joseph E. Koss Public Safety Building is closing in on having all the brick work done. The project’s contractor is Bernco Inc.

The site is located on 23 Mile Road, east of Romeo Plank Road in Macomb Township.

In February, the new fire station No. 1 opened after the old station, which had been used since 1952, was demolished.

Since then, Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips said all the footings went in for the two-story administrative portion that connects the apparatus bays to the sheriff’s garage.

The building also will create more space for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, which formerly operated out of a substation on the property.

The 8,200-square-foot garage is located directly north of the apparatus bays and is nearing completion. It will include space for 14 Sheriff’s Office vehicles.

The area where the former station stood will house the administration offices for the fire department and Sheriff’s Office.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction on the site halted for over two months, pushing the grand opening from October to January.

On any given day, Phillips estimates between 30 and 50 construction workers on site.

“We’ll have the latest in technology,” he said. “Our goal was to build something that will be here and usable for 50 years. It’s built for the future so there’s space to grow from the law enforcement side. We’ll be able to grow as the community grows.”

When asked how nice it is to see this project come together under his supervision, Phillips said he’s been working on it for five years.

“Every day you can see progress being made, and we’re looking forward to moving in and being able to fully function and operate out of here,” he said.

Public access to the offices will be on the first floor off 23 Mile Road. The second floor will house the department’s administration team, offices for police personnel, dorm rooms for firefighters, and shared spaces like workout, training and break rooms between the department and Sheriff’s Office.

In January, the department moved into newly constructed apparatus bays. Construction began on the roughly 9,000-square-foot apparatus bays in August 2019.

From an operational standpoint, Phillips compared the new station to moving into a new home, in terms of kinks and malfunctions.

“There’s little things that you work out, but all and all, it’s been great,” he said. “Everyone likes it and enjoys being here.”

Regarding a July issue on what the township claimed to be failure on the part of an engineering firm to install oil interceptors in the fire bays and garage, Phillips said the interceptor’s have been installed.

The payment issue is being handled between the township’s attorney and the engineering firm.  

At the station, three full-time firefighters are on 24-hour shifts, with paid on-call and auxiliary staff on eight-hour shifts.  

Phillips said the most time consuming step this fall will be finishing the interior of the administrative offices and adding epoxy flooring to the sheriff’s garage.