NORTHFIELD — Village officials are working on a project to expand and renovate the too-small and outdated fire station on Route 8 near Summit Plaza.

At its June 26 meeting, Council authorized Mayor Jesse Nehez to enter into an agreement with Baker Bednar Snyder & Associates of Warren for architectural and project consulting and administrative services.

Earlier this year, Council authorized the mayor to seek qualifications from architectural designers, and Fire Chief Jason Buss said the Warren firm was chosen after three firms were interviewed.

Law Director Brad Bryan said the architectural firm will be paid 9% of what the addition and renovations would end up costing.

According to its website, some of the company’s design work includes the Bazzetta Township fire station near Cortland, Akron Children’s Hospital facilities in Warren and Lisbon, Middlefield Bank in Cortland, a fraternity house at the University of Mount Union and Town Center at Firestone Farms in Columbiana.

In the past couple of years, Buss has told Council of the need for expanded facilities at the fire station, which was erected in 2003.

"We had no full-time firefighters back then, but now have a full-time staff," he said. "We have inadequate living quarters, no sprinklers and only one exit, the bays are short and we need space to park more equipment inside."

He continued that the current dorms are located in the attic with no air conditioning, and a ladder truck will be needed if MGM Northfield Park eventually builds a hotel. 

Buss added there is little privacy at the station. The department employs both men and women, and there is no bathroom or showers in the dorm, and firefighters must use the restroom downstairs.

Buss said city officials are looking at an addition of about 5,000 square feet, which could cost $1.8 million. Funding could come from the city’s budget, Tax Increment Financing the village receives from MGM Northfield Park, or a bond issue.

The money the village gets from MGM Northfield Park is required under state law to be used for public infrastructure projects connected in some way with the Route 8 entertainment facility, and the fire department qualifies.

Buss said city officials hope the architectural drawings can be completed by later this year so the project can go out for bids in January 2020. He added it would take nine to 12 months to finish the project, meaning late 2020 or early 2021.

In another fire department related matter, Council confirmed the mayor’s appointments of part-time firefighter-paramedics Sean Davis and Joshua Waddell and part-time paramedics Richard Dennis, Peter Lewis, Patrick McPhillips, John Reed and Judith Torres.

Buss explained that under Ohio law, registered paramedics, not just emergency medical technicians, are now required to deal with medical emergencies at MGM Northfield Park.

He added the village will receive compensation from the facility for the paramedics.

Council also adopted a resolution clarifying the application of the shift premium stipend paid to part-time fire department personnel.

Part-timers will receive a $2 per hour shift premium for all hours worked from 6 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Monday and for all shifts for which they are stationed at MGM Northfield Park regardless of the day of the week or time worked.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400, ext. 4189 or