Sagamore Hills -- As renovations are under way for the new fire department substation in Sagamore Hills Park, Trustees have taken steps to make the building a temporary reception area in the event of a disaster.

Trustee Dave DePasquale, who has been coordinating the work, said that as long as the township was spending money to turn the old barn building into a fire station, it might as well include some improvements so the building could potentially have other uses.

"With the extra insulation and getting a generator to run the whole building, we can utilize the building as a temporary reception area for residents in case there is a big ice storm and we lose power," he said. "We went the extra mile and lined the walls and ceiling with steel liner and extra insulation (in the garage bay)."

He said the township is paying cash for the renovations, but did not have final figures on the total cost because the job is not complete. He estimated the final cost will be around $130,000.

While there is still much work to be done, including completion of a drop ceiling in the firefighter's living quarters, flooring, kitchen cabinets and plumbing fixtures, the building has come a long way with the help of Macedonia firefighters, who volunteered to paint the living quarters and do other work.

"We will be up and running on Sept. 15," DePasquale said.

Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black said the firefighters who went to see how work on the station was progressing volunteered to lend a hand. DePasquale said he was grateful for the assistance and can't thank them enough. He said others have pitched in to help, including Township attorney Jeff Snell and Trustee Paul Schweikert, who helped install insulation and performed other tasks.

The approximately 3,200-square-foot building will feature a command office, a kitchen area, two bathrooms, a shower room, and sleeping quarters for up to four firefighters. While the substation will likely only house two-to-three firefighters at first, DePasquale said the township wants to be prepared for the future in case more firefighters are needed.

Other features will include LED lighting on motion sensors for energy conservation, and seperate office and living quarters. Sleeping quarters will have twin-sized beds with night stands, like living quarters in Macedonia.

The building is also designed so that it can be converted to other uses, as the sleeping quarters will be walled off from the kitchen and living areas by floor-to-ceiling modular walls, and the four twin-bed sleeping areas will be separated by 7-foot high modular walls.

"By having the modular walls we can easily take them out if down the road we regionalize we can use this building as a senior center or a community center," DePasquale said.

In March, after Sagamore Hills Trustees decided to pull out of the Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Fire District, Trustees estimated the renovation could be completed for around $50,000.

DePasquale said the renovations could have been completed for that amount, but said Trustees decided to "go the extra mile."

"I have no regrets we went this direction," he said. "The $50,000 plan would have worked, but we decided to spruce it up."

He added the township is not asking for additional funds from residents to complete the work, so he feels the spending is justified.

Schweikert said the majority of the money for the renovation is coming from the township's general fund. He added Dipole Builders Inc., owned by DePasquale, has donated about 90 hours of time on the project as of press time.

The building formerly housed park equipment such as mowers, which have been moved the road department building next to the new fire substation.

"It's a little tighter in there now, but we can make do," DePasquale said.

Trustees have said they anticipate holding an open house for residents to tour the new facility once the firefighters have settled in.

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432