HEBRON | Christmas is going to come a little later than hoped for Hebron Fire Chief Chad Franzman and the town's volunteer fire department.
"We met with the Hebron Redevelopment Commission last month and we were going to break ground (for an addition to the fire station) in September," Franzman said.
Last week he discovered the town had decided to delay bidding the project until January with construction to start in the spring. It will be the first major improvement to the fire department's quarters since they moved to their current location 30 years ago.
"It's definitely disappointing," he said of the delay. "We've been working on this for better than a year. It's something we've seen as a need for 10 or 15 years as a department."
Council President Don Ensign said at Tuesday's Council meeting the cost of the 3,000-square-foot addition has risen from $40,000 to over $400,000. Franzman said the $40,000 estimate was for a shell - "barer than the bare bones."
The final cost factor that pushed a $300,000 project over the $400,000 mark was the council's decision to abide by the prevailing wage provisions of the state law although it didn't have to because the cost was below $350,000, Franzman said.
The addition will increase the size of the meeting room and provide space for a couple of offices, which the station doesn't have now. The 2-1/2 bays will have room for the county to place an ambulance in Hebron to serve the south Porter County area.
The kitchen might be expanded to better serve the department when the station is used as a warming center. Speakers are another option to make it easier to hear the dispatcher and the phone. Air lines are needed to keep the trucks' brakes ready for immediate use rather than having to wait up to four minutes for them to charge after starting the engine.
Franzman got a $150,000 grant from the county for the project, and consultant Jim Mooney hopes to get a Homeland Security grant to pay for the rest. Whatever isn't covered by the grants will be paid for by the redevelopment commission.
"At the end of the day, we want to do it as cheaply as we can, but we want a good product too," he said. "We've looked and thought this out as something for the next 30 years."