Milton Fire Department Makes Plans to Double in Size by End of 2020
MILTON, Del.- To meet the needs created by rapid population growth in its fire district, the Milton Fire Department announced Tuesday it has begun a year-long capital campaign and construction project that will more than double the department's square footage.
After considering options, the board and membership of the MFD, voted to expand from 12,422-square-feet to 26,132-square-feet on its existing Front Street site in Milton.
“Our investigation to purchase land and complete all-new construction revealed that it would have cost more than twice as much as our addition and renovation project,” said MFD President Johnny Hopkins.
The central location and solid construction of its existing building were also factors, Hopkins said.
The fire department hopes to raise at least $2 million of the $4.6 million total cost via private donations, through a campaign that began in September 2019.
Features of the expanded station will include a new engine bay that will house two pieces of apparatus and the reconstruction and enlargement of an existing bay currently housing four pieces. Other improvements include a larger community room, new bunk rooms, and restrooms; laundry, recreation and meal facilities for volunteer firefighters and paid EMS staff, a meeting and training room, and new administrative offices.
The building design will eliminate the current flat roof and replace the aging heating and A/C systems with modern, cost-efficient units, according to Hopkins.
The MFD itself will pay for $2.6 million of the project cost, through a $2 million loan and $600,000 from earmarked growth funds as well as the recent sale of donated building lots.
If at least $2 million can be raised through donations, that will save MFD a substantial amount in mortgage fees each year, according to Hopkins, who said those funds could then be utilized toward the necessary replacement and updating of expensive firefighting equipment and apparatus.
More than 70 firefighters and over 50 Ladies Auxiliary members volunteer at the MFD, Hopkins said, and station operations are managed by an elected volunteer board of directors, resulting in very low overhead.
Last year, the station responded to 1,745 fire and EMS calls within its assigned 100-square-mile territory, and in assistance to eight neighboring fire companies.
The general contractor for the fire station expansion is i3a Ide3 Associates, LLC - Consulting Engineers and Construction Management. The project is being financed primarily through a loan with Shore United Bank.