ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Officials broke ground at the St. Charles Fire Department Station #3 on Monday.

The building has been standing at 2817 Elm Street in St. Charles since 1963. It’s had some major structural issues. The current building will be torn down and a new one will go in its place.

“This has been a long, long, long time coming,” Fire Chief George Sheets said. “This station has been refurbished many times. Now, thanks to the council, the mayor, and the director of administration, we’re able to demolish the station and rebuild a new two-base station.

The new facility, located near Jaycee Park, will cost $4.3 million. Kelly Hunsel, a spokesperson for the St. Charles Fire Department, said this won’t cost taxpayers money because voters approved Proposition R in 2021. It’s a bond that supports upgrades and repairs to the city’s police and fire departments.

“With this bond issue being passed, it’s going to give us the opportunity to actually demolish the current station and build on the exact same site. Which is wonderful, because our stations are strategically placed throughout the city to provide a four-minute response time to all of our citizens,” Hunsel said. “So this is a wonderful location, but we’re going to be able to have state-of-the-art facilities now to improve our service.”

The current building has had flooding issues and electrical hazards that would require extensive repairs. That’s why city leaders say they need this new building. More space is needed for fire trucks and equipment. Safety is a concern, too.

“When this station was built, fire trucks looked very different than they do today,” Hunsel said. “We’ve learned so much about the chemicals that we encounter as firefighters. By replacing the station, we’re going to have more room for equipment. It’ll be much safer for our crews. We’ll be able to evacuate some of those chemicals that we bring back to the station with us in our gear and in our equipment, so it’ll be safer and it’ll provide much better service.

The new fire station is expected to be complete in fall 2023.

Firefighters who were based in that building are now working out of the City of St. Charles, Fire Station #1 on N. 6th Street. Their response times will not be impacted by this project, according to the St. Charles Fire Department.