LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -After years of searching for funding, the fire station that serves Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport and a portion of south Lawton will soon be replaced.
The joint use station has had structural and space problems for years, with the FAA taking notice after a 2010 inspection. Since then, the City and Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority have been finding ways to fund the $3.6 million project, and now they are almost to their goal.
Airport director Barbara McNally says they are $600,000 short from where they need to be, and will be meeting with the city in the next couple of days to figure out where they are going to get the money to replace the aging station.
Lawton Fire Chief Dewayne Burk says his firefighters have exactly three minutes to respond to incidents at the airport, but their most up-to-date truck in their old facility can slow them down when trying to drive it out.
"This is a huge truck. When you start looking at the width of it, and these doors, what are these door? 12? I think they are about 12 feet wide. It's really tight," Chief Burk said.
Chief Burk says the deteriorating facility takes a toll on the firefighter's morale.
"Nobody wants to be at that station because it's, you know, it's not holding up like it should. It's not a very nice place to work because of the conditions you are working in," Chief Burk said.
A solution is in sight; McNally says she is meeting with the city in the search for that last bit of funding.
"We're hopeful that we are at least going to raise at least another $600,000 that way that building will be a building that would go into the future," McNally said.
McNally says the look of the new fire station will closely match the design of the new terminal getting ready to be constructed. The new station will be located inside the airport grounds for access and security reasons.
If the remaining $600,000 in funding is secured soon, McNally says construction on the new fire station could begin as early as August 2017.