Fire hall, emergency services facility open in Jackson
JACKSON -- The Jackson Fire Department and ambulance service have been tenants in the newly constructed Fire and Emergency Services Building since Nov. 9.
"We're still working out a few kinks, but we're excited to be here," said Mike Muchliski, Ambulance Director.
The new 15,000-square-foot building is completely modernized and constructed on the same site as the previous facility.
"The whole building is more modern and user friendly," added Mark Sasker, who has been Jackson's fire chief for the past three years.
The previous fire and emergency services building was shared with the city's liquor store. With the construction of the new facility, the liquor store moved down the street on U.S. 71 -- allowing fire and emergency services to use the entire lot and almost double their space, according to Muchliski.
"The old building was tiny," Muchliski said. "You could barely walk between the trucks."
Each of the trucks now has drains installed underneath them, and there is enough room to wash the trucks within the building.
The ambulance garage has also been expanded. In the previous building, the ambulances doors were 10 feet wide. In the new building, they have been increased to 12 feet.
"In the previous building, we had maybe a 1/4 of an inch between the mirror of the ambulance and the garage door," Sasker said.
Upstairs is a lounge room, complete with couches, a TV and computer and space for a workout room that will be set up soon, Muchliski said. There are also small overnight rooms available for volunteers.
"We have an EMT that stays here. She's from out of town and she takes on-call for us a lot of nights," Muchliski said.
Since the completion of the new building by Brunton Architects of North Mankato, Muchliski has seen an increase in the number of volunteers who stop by on a daily basis to take advantage of the new facility.
"In the old place, they weren't able to spend much time there," Muchliski said, "There just wasn't enough room. But now, we've had guys here hanging out and working on stuff most nights."
Multiple offices, a meeting room and a restocking room next to the ambulance garage were also added.
"In the old building, there was one office everyone had to share," said Muchliski.
The fire department and emergency services, which receives about 550 to 600 calls a year, has room for up to 30 volunteers and currently has 26.
"We're down a little bit right now and are always looking to hire more," Sasker said.
"We're hoping," added Muchliski, "that the new building will help draw in some new volunteers."
According to Jackson City Administrator Jennifer Feely-Bromeland, the total cost of the project is $1,884,500.51, with $600,000 coming from the ambulance reserves and the remainder from the city's reserves. The project began May 14 and was completed Sept. 28.
"The addition of the new fire hall is symbolic of the widespread progress taking place in Jackson at the present time," Feely-Bromeland said. "It's hard not to feel a sense of community pride when driving by the new fire hall on Highway 71."
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at