Vote on new Sycamore fire station expected Monday

Latest vote would greenlight next steps for architecture firm; city eyes 2026 as tentative move-in date

Michael Hall, city manager for the City of Sycamore, makes his presentation Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce State of the Community Address in the DeKalb County Community Foundation Freight Room.

SYCAMORE – The next step needed for Sycamore to construct a new fire station estimated to cost more than $10 million will be up for a vote Monday from the Sycamore City Council.

In August, Oak Brook-based FGM Architects was awarded an $86,920 contract for the preliminary design and concept plan of a new Fire Station 1 building. The facility would be built on 6 acres of land donated to the city by Ideal Industries, 1375 Park Ave., in January.

On Monday, the City Council will be presented with an amendment to that professional services agreement which, if approved, would allow the architecture firm to complete the design development and create construction documents necessary to take the project to bidding with contractors, according to city documents.

Sycamore City Manager Michael Hall referenced the city’s yearlong effort to initiate the project during the 2024 Sycamore State of the Community address hosted by the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. He said the location of a new Fire Station 1 would improve fire department response times in the southeast area of the city.

“By moving it now to the new location, which Ideal donated the land ... now we can service that area more efficiently,” Hall said. “That’s one of the reasons why we relocated.”

Sycamore Fire Department headquarters in Sycamore, IL

Sycamore First Station 1 still operates out of the building that formerly housed city hall located at 535 DeKalb Ave. Officials have cited the building’s age among issues prompting a new build.

If the plan is approved, the design and construction document phases will be completed by late December, and the procurement of contractors is tentatively set to be completed by early 2025, according to city documents. Those three phases will take 1,959 hours of work to complete and will cost $394,640, according to an amendment to the professional services agreement.

Sycamore also will be billed five lump-sum consultant fees totaling $209,400, according to the agreement.

The agreement includes the design of the base building as well as two expanded building concepts. That includes a space for a regional emergency operations center and an expanded lobby – dubbed a museum by city officials, but called a lobby in the amended agreement – that would house the Sycamore Fire Department’s vintage fire engine.

In November, city officials including Hall said they believe the station can be funded without raising property taxes by eliminating existing debt and borrowing $10 million to fund the construction of a new facility.

According to city documents, money previously applied to past debt, along with ambulance fees, will be reapplied to new debt to cover debt service payments required for a new fire station.

The current Sycamore Fire Station 1 was built in 1957 and served as a combination building for city hall and the fire and police stations until 2003. Sycamore fire Chief Bart Gilmore has said the 66-year-old building is not compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act regulations, contains asbestos and is heated by a boiler almost as old as the building.

Since before he was sworn in as fire chief in June, Gilmore has campaigned for something to be done about the conditions of Sycamore Fire Station 1.

Hall shared his expected timeline for the project during the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce event Wednesday.

“It would be more of an industrial look because that’s where it’s located at, but phase one is finished. Phase two would be engineering the design plans and those sorts of things. That’ll be on the agenda Monday night for approval for phase two,” Hall said. “If that gets approved, then we’d look to go into construction probably [in] April or May of next year, maybe moving in June or July of 2026,” Hall said.

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