Wausau Fire Department proposes new building for station 1

The projected cost of a new building is $10 - 15 million
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 5:30 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau Fire Department is looking into building a new fire station. The fire chief said now is the time to start talking about making a change.

What was once named the most ‘Most Modern in Nation’ is now outgrown, according to Wausau Fire Chief Robert Barteck.

Wausau Daily Record-Herald calls the station the 'Most Modern in Nation' in 1962.
Wausau Daily Record-Herald calls the station the 'Most Modern in Nation' in 1962.(wsaw)

The shiny new station got the name from the Wausau Daily Record-Herald. It appeared on the front cover on May 18th, 1962.

“It cost the city at that time $340,000 to complete the station. So for $5,600 a year now over the last 60 years we’ve been able to utilize this fire station,” said Chief Barteck.

Chief Barteck said a new station is now necessary.

“It does not meet the needs of the community anymore,” said Chief Barteck.

He said the building was very well built at that time and was a very modern design in 1960. However, there’s been a lot of changes in the fire service over that time. Chief Barteck said in the early 60′s they got around 1,000 calls a year. This year it will be about 7 times that. And back then, they didn’t have an ambulance service. They’ve also added hazardous materials and a water rescue team.

All of that means they’re storing more equipment along with bigger, more modern firetrucks.

“The apparatus that I’m standing in front of is indicative of the size of the apparatus when the station was built. now apparatus is much larger,” said Chief Barteck.

Fire trucks have grown in size as they've evolved over time.
Fire trucks have grown in size as they've evolved over time.(wsaw)

Their staff is also growing. Including adding female firefighters.

“This station was never designed to house female firefighters and so we have some privacy issues,” said Chief Barteck.

Meaning no separate sleeping spaces. And speaking of space, they’re using the kitchen for training as well as one office shared by six people.

“I think it’s right that we begin the discussion about what it means for the future of the community. Do they still want to continue all the services that we provide to the community? If so, then we need to proper response platform to do that,” said Chief Barteck.

He plans to present the possible new building plans to the city in August. It could cost between $10-15 million to replace station one altogether, but it’s still in the proposal phase of the process.

Fire Chief says the department has outgrown the 60-year-old building they work out of on Grand Avenue

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