By Shavonne Potts
LANDIS ó It was 11 months ago that a construction crew ripped through the walls of fire station No. 2.
As the months progressed, a new fire station was slowly erected and it added 3,000 square feet of space.
On Thursday, the public is invited to check out the new digs that total 5,500 square feet now.
The exterior of the building is stuccoed in earth tones ó natural on top and coral on the bottom.
“We went with stucco and earth tones, trying to give an appearance that the building was built in the 1920s and ’30s,” Fire Chief Reed Linn said.
Mayor Mike Mahaley and his wife donated a firefighter statue that is to the side of the truck bays.
The bay doors open automatically when the tones and sirens are activated. They are closed by remote control.
The bay doors are clear but are encased in a metal frame, giving it a different look, Linn said.
It’s also nice for the community to be able to see inside the facility, he said.
Some of the department’s trucks are already in the new facility, but a brush truck and at least two other pump trucks will be housed there later.
The station has a ventilation system that includes a hose to attach to the truck’s tail pipes, which will filter exhaust out of the building.
Linn said when this filtering process is finished, the hose detaches itself.
Attached on a wall is an old catch net that is no longer used, but offers a look at part of the station’s history. Other equipment will be added as the fire house becomes active.
One door leads to firefighters’ sleeping and kitchen quarters. Two handicapped accessible bathrooms ó one with a shower ó are part of the living quarters. Two beds and televisions are available for the firefighters.
A door leads outside to a back patio breezeway that has a retractable burgundy awning and a grill for the fire department or town hall staff to use. Another door leads into the council chambers.
Doors from either the outside or the truck bays lead to a fire tower that will house town memorabilia. The fire tower is reminiscent of watchtowers of the 1920s where a lookout was posted to watch for fires.
This tower has an imposingly high ceiling and has windows on all four walls.
Some trophies and renderings are already in place. On one wall is the original charter that landowners signed in the early 1900s to incorporate the town of Landis.
From the tower, a wheelchair-accessible ramp leads to the newly renovated council chambers.
At the end of the ramp is a mini-kitchen and public restrooms. The old fire station was a part of an old service station and although the fire department used it for years, the conditions were inadequate and cramped.
There was no running water and no restrooms.
The council chambers are to the immediate right of the wheelchair ramp.
Inside, the walls are creamy yellow. Lighting is subtle in the hallway leading into the council chambers.
The seating capacity is about 40. Where there were metal folding chairs for the audience and visitors, there are now deep burgundy leather chairs.
A place for the media, a podium for guest presenters and table and chairs for town staff have been provided.
The landing area where board members sit was pushed back to give more floor room.
He said the audio/visual equipment that was installed is tied into the Internet, cable vision and the town’s computer system to accommodate slideshow presentations. The microphone system is linked into a surround sound system.
A new handicapped-accessible vestibule was placed outside the chambers.
Linn, also the town administrator, said the front entrance to the council chambers and town hall was redesigned and landscaped with a few trees and flowers.
The project was estimated to cost about $580,000. Town officials financed the project through a 40-year, low-interest loan with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In May 2006, the board awarded the lowest of three bids to Landis’ LaFave’s Construction Co.
The town hall, council chambers and fire station are all connected. The building began as Snipes Service Station in the 1930s and it remained that business into the 1960s.
The three connected buildings housed the Trailways Bus Station that carried residents from Landis to Concord and Kannapolis throughout the 1940s until the 1960s. The building had housed several furniture stores, a printing shop and a laundry mat.
In the late 1960s, now Mayor Mike Mahaley bought the buildings and used it as a garage/service station and beauty salon. Mahaley sold the buildings to Linn-Corriher Corp. The buildings went unused for a time until Linn-Corriher Corp. sold it to Dominion Yarn Manufacturing. Parkdale Mill bought the property and in 1997, the town purchased the buildings from Parkdale Mill.
Several local and state officials are slated to attend the open house, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole and N.C. Sen. Andrew Brock, N.C. Rep. Fred Steen, county commissioners and the local board of aldermen.
The official ribbon cutting and open house is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Shavonne Potts