New Morris fire station nearing completion thanks to warmer-than-expected winter

Bricklayers finish up on the bricks outside the three large garage bay doors.

It was quiet for a few weeks outside the new Morris Fire Station at 200 Armstrong St., but that wasn’t a sign of a lack of progress: One look inside shows that it’s been a busy winter construction season.

Construction workers Friday spent the day on brickwork around the garage openings before the large doors come in next week. The front of the station, minus the section already finished, is surrounded with scaffolding and wrapped in plastic while the construction workers plug away at the project.

Construction workers inside the new Morris fire station at 200 Armstrong St.

Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes said workers laid bricks through the winter, and the brickwork is expected to be finished by the end of the week. Work on the metal roof has started, and Steffes said he doesn’t see that getting completed until the first part of Spring unless current weather patterns hold out.

The inside of the building, though, is mostly finished. Steffes said what’s left now is adding trim, finishing up the panel ceilings and smaller things like painting and cleaning up.

Steffes said the building is already running on the heating system it’ll have when it’s in use instead of a temporary heating system typically used on construction sites.

A construction worker carries material to continue his work inside the new Morris fire station.

Morris Fire Board President Dave Bonomo said he spoke with the general contractor and learned that the project is on budget, which he called a significant victory.

“We cut some things out once we learned how things were going to function and whether it was worth the expense and what we would gain,” Steffes said. “We cut a couple things out and added some other things that were less expensive, but still kept the same function. It’s going to get into exciting times once the front of the building is closer to having the brick all done.”

The new Morris fire station is a $5 million project that will bring a fully featured fire station to the city’s downtown and offer something for visitors.

Steffes said the station will have a viewing area for its 1868 Steamer fire truck and its 1927 American LaFrance fire truck, both of which will be visible from the outside in a room that will be full of pieces of Morris Fire Department history. That room is also covered by a more decorative brick on the outside similar to what an old downtown fire station would’ve looked like.

The new fire station features a kitchen and day room, seven bedrooms, a shower space, a workout room, a working bell tower, a lobby space and more.

The outside of what will be a viewing room for the 1927 LaFrance fire engine and the 1868 Steamer.
Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec covers Grundy County and the City of Morris, Coal City, Minooka, and more for the Morris Herald-News