Sandy Springs officials are considering the need to replace some of the city’s aging fire stations.

The city fire department took over existing Fulton County stations when the city was created in 2005. Some of the facilities were “very old” at that time, City Manager John McDonough told members of Sandy Springs City Council during the council’s Dec. 16 meeting. The average age of the city’s stations now is 45, he said.

“We are looking at a number of different options,” McDonough said. City staff members plan to deliver to the council in January or February specific recommendations on ways to proceed, he said.

City officials also say they plan to find a new home for the fire department’s headquarters when the city moves its offices into a new City Hall at the City Center. The fire department now is housed in rented office space at Morgan Falls along with other city operations. The city doesn’t plan to house the department’s headquarters in the City Center complex, McDonough said.

Fire Chief Keith Sanders said the department would need a headquarters that would contain about 8,300 square feet to house administrative offices, the Fire Marshal’s office, conference rooms and other facilities. The same building would contain about 8,800 square feet to house dorms for firefighters, a kitchen, bathrooms and other facilities, he said. The total estimated need for the building would require about 24,600 square feet, he said.

The city’s existing stations, he said, are smaller. Two take in 9,000 square feet while the other two enclose 16,900 square feet and 19,000 square feet.

The city also will need more land for its new stations, city staff members said in a memorandum to council. “None of the city’s existing fire stations contain physical property large enough to adequately enable expansion,” their memorandum said.

The city now owns 1.37 acres at Station 1, 1425 Spalding Drive, 1.26 acres at Station 2, 135 Johnson Ferry Road, 2.78 acres at Station 3, 6025 Raider Drive, and 1.37 acres at Station 4, 4697 Wieuca Road, according to the memorandum.

“Our goal is to improve response times,” McDonough said. During the Dec. 16 meeting, He said one option city officials do not plan to pursue would be to locate a new station at the intersection of at Abernathy and Wright roads.

Before the council meeting, residents in the area had contacted city officials saying they’d heard the location was being considered as a new site for Station No. 2. Residents who attended the meeting to question the station move instead were pleased by McDonough’s denial. “I think they got the message,” resident Barbara Malone said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.