VALDOSTA — Rising construction costs are causing the Valdosta Fire Department to re-evaluate renovations to Stations 3 and 4.

According to VFD Chief J.D. Rice, funds were budgeted for the project, but rising costs caused the bids to come in at more than was originally anticipated. Station 3 located on Ulmer Avenue and Station 4 located on Gornto Road were built more than 35 years ago and must undergo renovations to make the facilities more accommodating.

Each of the other five stations throughout the city are less than 12 years old and enjoy amenities unavailable to Stations 3 and 4.

The structures were built before any female firefighters were hired and also before the American Disabilities Act went into effect. Renovations will provide accommodation for visitors with disabilities as well as additional amenities for female firefighters who have since joined the department.

Construction crews have also noticed difficulties with the structures originally built in the 1970s because of the reinforced concrete walls and structures that are difficult to move or renovate.

Rice stated that the new plan is to work on one station at a time.

“We will try to get one done within the next 18 months and then tackle the next one later on after that,” Rice stated.

Rice added that City Manager Larry Hanson, the City Council as well as the taxpayers have been gracious with the fire department providing the necessary funding to allow for upgrades to the stations.

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