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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New WRTFD headquarters to help build community relationships

By Nancy Price

This fall, the White River Township Fire Department will begin construction on a 23,000 square foot, multimillion-dollar facility that will serve the growing needs of the department.

WRTFD’s current location at 850 S. Mullinix Road will be torn down as Interstate 69’s 142-mile highway extension, from Martinsville to Indianapolis, nears its completion.

The building’s added space will serve many purposes for a department that has grown substantially within the past 18 years, noted WRTFD Fire Chief Jeremy Pell. The addition of more firefighters, bigger firetrucks and newer regulations require the extra room.

The department’s new home, near Center Grove Middle School North, will be located in front of Pleasant Grove Elementary School (at the corner of Fairview Road and Morgantown Road) and will also include a substation for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.

“We are pleased to work out this agreement with the White River Township Fire Department,” said Dr. Rich Arkanoff, Center Grove Superintendent. “Having the fire department’s principal headquarters and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department substation located so closely to two of our schools will only improve the safety of our students and staff.”

Pell said that the new location across from the school will provide a number of benefits, including quicker responses for emergencies, better visibility and increased communication between the fire department, schools and the community. The additional space can be used for various community events and meetings.

“We are the community fire department. We can provide a quick response for not only the school but for the entire community,” Pell said. “This is a new opportunity to get some of the students into the fire station where we can’t do that practically when we’re away from the school campus. That’s part of the reason for a larger community room, so we can do education events with fire equipment displays and have them do some hands-on activities.”

Pell said he appreciated the “great partnership” with not only Center Grove Schools but with the Indiana Department of Transportation as well.

“I was able to participate in the Community Advisory Committee (with INDOT),” he said. “They’ve been open-minded, helped us find solutions, have been involved in the planning process and jumped right on board with us with the new station.”

The new building’s construction is scheduled to be completed by November 2019.