Columbia County officials say they hope a fire station staffed round-the-clock will be ready to open in Winfield by July 1.
County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker said the conversion of the former Winfield Fire Department headquarters into a Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue station is moving forward.
If construction continues on schedule, the station should open on schedule, she said during a Fire and EMS Advisory Board meeting Thursday.
The money to renovate the Winfield station and an unstaffed Burks Mountain Road station were part of a line item in the voter-approved 2006 Capital Improvements Projects bond.
It also included a training center in Appling for a total of $775,000.
The county has already used bond money to purchase four Class A fire trucks and has a 100-foot aerial truck and a command vehicle on order, Tucker said.
"The bond was voted on in November, and it's amazing how quickly everything has happened," she said.
Progress on a future permanent station at the former Leah High School site has been hampered by difficulties involved with the purchase of the property, Tucker said.
The county, which purchased the site from the Columbia County school board, was forced to condemn the land because a deed did not exist.
Tucker said she expects site preparation and construction to begin on the permanent station within a few months.
With growth continuing in the urban areas of the county, Tucker said, long-range goals include the potential construction of a 17th fire station near the water plant on Stevens Creek Road in Martinez and a permanent station on White Road near Harlem.
The proposed Stevens Creek station could be included in the 2011 special purpose local option sales tax.
It is needed to relieve some pressure on crews at Martinez-Columbia headquarters on DeSoto Drive and Station 3 on Furys Ferry Road near Evans to Locks Road, she said.
Firefighters currently serving at White Road do so out of a temporary building.
Also during the meeting, it was noted that Gold Cross, the county's emergency medical service provider, responded on-time to far greater than 90 percent of all categories of emergency calls through February and March.
Some categories were answered completely on time.
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