Haihai Street fire station nears completion

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The final touches are being made to a new Hawaii Fire Department station on Haihai Street in Hilo.

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The final touches are being made to a new Hawaii Fire Department station on Haihai Street in Hilo.

Assistant Fire Chief Glen Honda said there’s no opening date for the 12,000-square-foot facility, which will replace a smaller station on Kawailani Street, but the project is getting close to completion.

“Probably by the end of this month, we can start considering moving in,” he said, adding telephone communications and punch-list items remain to be completed. “We’re kind of playing it by ear.”

On the outside, the new station across from Hilo Municipal Golf Course looks finished. A few workers could be seen Thursday painting a chain-link fence.

The County Council advanced a bill Wednesday during a Finance Committee meeting appropriating $154,000 in general obligation bonds to the project.

That would bring the amount allotted for construction to $11 million, according to a financial impact statement.

Deanna Sako, deputy finance director, said the council had approved about $11 million in bonds for the new station. She said the additional money is a reallocation of funds from the previous fiscal year.

Honda said the department is trying to relocate to the new station before roadwork on Kawailani Street impacts the existing station. There are no plans yet for reusing the existing building.

The Kawailani Street improvements will bring the road closer to the existing station’s dorm and garage, making that facility unsafe, according to the impact statement.

Honda said the new station will allow all of the vehicles to be stored inside and provide room for expansion.

“You could double the amount of people and still the facility is built for that,” he said.

The project started in January 2016 and initially was scheduled to be complete the following November.

Estimated completion was later pushed back to last spring.

Asked about delays, Honda said it was a matter of “overestimating time and the performance” needed. Weather delays also played a role, he said.

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“Once they got inside, they moved along pretty quickly,” Honda said, of the contractor.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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