Costa Mesa's new fire station is rapidly taking shape, with officials hoping to wrap up work this summer.
When the 11,740-square-foot station is finished in June or July at the intersection of Adams Avenue and Royal Palm Drive, it will be a crown jewel for the city's Fire & Rescue Department.
"It's not only going to be a flagship station for the department, it's going to be a community flagship as well," Fire Chief Dan Stefano said Friday during a tour of the developing facility. "We're very excited about it."
City officials broke ground on the $10-million project in March last year. One of the first actions was demolishing the original 9,500-square-foot station on the site — commonly referred to as Fire Station No. 1.
The old facility was built in 1961. Over the years, it became increasingly cramped and worn-down, and issues with the structure and its foundation left the building out of step with modern codes, according to fire and city officials.
Given the problems, it made sense to build a new station from scratch, said city Public Services Director Raja Sethuraman.
"It was at a point where you really could not repair it," he said of the old station. "It was beyond that."
There were operational obstacles with the old station as well. Fire vehicles entered or left using Royal Palm, a narrow, largely residential street. Now they will be able to exit directly onto Adams.
The new station will have a large fire apparatus bay and include 10 firefighter dorm rooms, five restrooms, a kitchen and dining room, a laundry room, training rooms and office space.
"Because we're here 24 hours, it's essentially like a large house … we cook here, eat, sleep, do everything here," Stefano said.
The new facility also will include efficiency features such as solar panels that will provide energy to heat water. Windows and tubular skylights will illuminate the facility with natural light.
Officials hope the station will earn the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED gold certification in recognition of its efficient design, according to City Engineer Bart Mejia.
Money to pay for the project is coming from the city's general fund.
Since construction began, personnel have operated out of a temporary station in a double-wide mobile home at 1368 Adams Ave.
"They've adapted well to it," Stefano said. "All things considered, it's a great setup over there."
But, he added with a smile, "certainly our folks are excited about getting into this new station."