Forsyth County commissioners have approved renovating Fire Station 9 on Hwy. 369, near Lake Lanier and the Hall County line.
Fire Chief Danny Bowman said the gutting, architectural plans and construction would cost no more than $350,000, with the money coming from the fire fund balance.
"I wouldn't come before you today if this was a simple matter of aesthetics," Bowman told commissioners Tuesday, noting that there are several dangers involved with not refurbishing the facility.
The station was built in 1989 by volunteers as a meeting place.
"If a fire call came in, you went there, you picked up the fire truck, you had a one-hour meeting," Bowman said. "… The dangerous parts come down to the electrical ... we do have a generator, but if we crank that generator and the switches are not drawn perfectly, you can electrocute a Georgia Power man up on the pole."
Other problems with the station include no emergency lighting in times of power failure, substantial leaks in the metal roof that have resulted in interior damage, and a low-efficiency heating and air system that leads to high bills.
Chairman Pete Amos asked if it wouldn't be more cost effective to build a new station since those are designed to "last 50 years."
"We can give you a station that will last you 15 to 20 years for about a fifth of what a new station would cost," said Bowman, adding that there simply isn't enough space at the site in northeast Forsyth to build a new station.
After the 5-0 vote, the project will be put out to bid for an architect and general contractor.