Lasker VFD expands with new facility

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 2004

JACKSON – Pretty soon, Lasker Fire Chief Phillip Outland and his 27-man volunteer squad will be able to look across the street from a brand new building to their nearly three decade-year old building and smile, all thanks to grant money and an $80,000 tax exempt loan.

After hearing Outland’s request for the loan, which would be used to cover the difference in cost not covered by grant money for the construction of the new facility, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved the measure during a meeting here last week.

The loan is set up for repayment on a 15-month term with income coming in a 50/50 split from the service district and fund raising.

&uot;We’re really excited about it,&uot; said Outland who oversees fire service for a population of about 1,000 people in a five square mile radius.

&uot;We are really in need of a new building. With the current one, there is no room for expansion because it’s land locked on all sides. The structure has also been experiencing some foundational failure.&uot;

The new 50 x 90 foot facility, which will be situated on approximately two acres of land at 112 West Church Street, will be directly across from its current location of 203 West Church Street and have the capacity to accommodate a maximum of five trucks.

&uot;Initially we thought about putting in for a grant for some new trucks, but because they are slightly larger than the ones we currently have, they wouldn’t fit, so we figured we should start with the building first,&uot; he said, adding that the new building should be in move-in condition by the end of the year.

&uot;We have contracted the construction of the facility to a company out of Murfreesboro by the name of Benchmark,&uot; he said. &uot;The land prep is finished and they are scheduled to begin erecting the building in two to three weeks. We are hoping for a completion date of late September, early October.&uot;

Outland commented in conjunction with several other sources, a good part of the grant money awarded to the department came from ENC Department of Insurance.

&uot;The grants have helped a lot and seeing this project fulfilled is going to be a real morale booster for the firefighters as well as the community,&uot; noted Outland. &uot;We have had a lot of support from the people in the community and we wouldn’t be able to do this without them.&uot;

Outland stated that plans for what to do with the old facility were still uncertain.