Caswell station

Caswell Beach officials are actively planning for their new fire station, which also will house police and the public works department. Town administrator Chad Hicks expects to bring a financing plan to commissioners at their meeting next week.

Current plans call for a structure just under 7,000 square feet with three bays for the Yaupon Fire Department and a fourth bay that will house Brunswick County paramedics. There would be a detached storage area for public works, along with offices for police and public works. The third floor has a day room, training area and sleeping area with bunk beds.

Hicks said he received proposals from three financial institutions, including one willing to make a 10-year loan at 2.7-percent interest. The administrator said he expects guidance from commissioners at the regular July 10 meeting and was looking for the detailed construction plans by July 15.

“Then we can go to bid,” Hicks said. Preliminary estimates are that the building will cost $700,000 to $800,000. It’s unclear whether commissioners will ask the Yaupon volunteers to contribute toward the project.

Caswell Beach usually pays cash for its capital needs. The only long-term debt the town has is an interest-free, 20-year $1.5-million loan for the vacuum sewer system. Debt service on that note is $75,000 a year.

The town has approximately $600,000 in unreserved fund balance, which is like a saving account.

Hicks said he was negotiating with a local contractor and construction manager to make the station a design-build project, which could result in substantial savings.

Drawings show the structure will be 35 feet high and have an elevator. Hicks said the exterior would have a T-111 siding, which complements the existing Town Hall.

Oak Island owns nearby Station 2, where the Yaupon firefighters are currently based. Oak Island leaders made an unsuccessful bid to merge with Yaupon and take over fire and emergency services at Caswell Beach.

Oak Island Town Council voted to ask Yaupon to vacate the station in October. Hicks said the town planned to relocate its metal storage building to Cape Fear Regional Jetport and allow Yaupon to use it as a temporary station until the new building is finished. An existing wooden shed on the construction site will be demolished, Hicks said.

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