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County breaks ground on Fire Station 11 in west Forsyth
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A sign marks the site of Fire Station No. 11 for a groundbreaking ceremony for on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. - photo by Alexander Popp

After more than a decade of planning and development, community leaders have broken ground on a construction project to build Forsyth County Fire Station 11 along Pittman Road in west Forsyth.

On Tuesday morning, local officials gathered at the fire station’s future home to kick off the construction process with a ceremonial groundbreaking, share new details about the new station and the impact its construction will have on the local community.

"The Forsyth County Fire Department mission statement talks about protecting life, liberty, property, the environment and our community; to achieve their mission the fire department needs to be at the right place at the right time with the right people,” Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Laura Semanson said during the ceremony. “Locating this new fire station puts the right people in the right place and will be here at the right time.”

Built on land that has been earmarked for a future fire station since 2008, according to Division Chief Jason Shivers, spokesman for the Forsyth County Fire Department, Fire Station 11 will be the 14th staffed station in Forsyth County, covering a response territory in west Forsyth County between stations 1, 2, 4 and 14.

Shivers said that the new 12,000-square-foot station will be nearly “identical” to other stations in the county, with four bays for fire apparatus, but the station will have an updated and refreshed look that is different from the basic design that the county has built since 2005.

"This new fire station will be a standard of public safety excellence in western Forsyth County and will serve her customers with the pride and performance that are hallmarks of the men and women of the fire department,” Fire Chief Barry Head said during the groundbreaking.

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Forsyth County Fire Chief Barry Head addresses those in attendance during a groundbreaking ceremony for the county's newest fire station on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. - photo by Alexander Popp

In the planning stages of the project, commissioners and county staff explored the possibility of joining Fire Station 11 with a west precinct for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, but according to Shivers that plan was ultimately tabled due to the needs of each agency and space constraints of the site.

In her words to the gathered crowd, Semanson also said that the new station will be staffed by 12 firefighters funded through a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant, which will provide partial funding at the station in 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

“The 2019 funding means that we can already hire and train this year so that we are fully staffed and ready to go from day one," Semanson said. "Forsyth County was just one of 371 fire departments nationwide to receive this grant."

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Forsyth County officials and public figures toss dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for the county's newest fire station on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. - photo by Alexander Popp

Funding for construction of the new station comes from SPLOST VI, officials say, which voters approved in 2008. At a board of commissioners meeting in late May, a $4.2 million bid to build the new station was approved for Cooper and Company General Contractors, a local Forsyth County construction firm.

Construction of Fire Station 11 is expected to take between 10 months and a year. 

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Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers addresses those in attendance during a groundbreaking ceremony for the county's newest fire station on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. - photo by Alexander Popp