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The new Mauston Fire Station is now officially open for business, giving the city’s firefighters a needed upgrade over their former cramped quarters and the Mauston Police Department additional space.

City officials and fire station personnel held a dedication ceremony Nov. 11 to mark the opening of the about $2.7 million building at 432 Hickory St., Mauston. Construction began on the project in June 2018, with the city taking possession of the building Sept. 10, 2019.

“It was a long project, with a lot of people involved,” said Mauston Mayor Brian McGuire. “Lot of time getting things the way we wanted them.”

Construction was initially scheduled for completion Feb. 15, 2019, but delays led to the city granting an extension on construction through the end of March 2019. Delays from the end of March through the city taking possession in September were not authorized, and City Administrator Randy Reeg said the city is leaving open the possibility of pursuing damages resulting from the delays against Altman Construction.

“We’re still deciding if we’re pursuing damages,” Reeg said. “We have one large pay application outstanding.”

Overall, the city is pleased with the building, despite some cracking in the floor of the bay. Reeg said the plan for now is to let vehicles drive on the floor and watch how frost affects the floor before taking any further corrective action.

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“This is a beautiful facility, and much needed,” said Mauston Fire Chief Kim Hale. “The Fire Department needed to move, and the Police Department needed some more space… I haven’t heard a bad comment from anyone about the building.”

Prior to the completion of the new station, both police and fire personnel were operating out of the same building on Mansion Street. The situation left both departments cramped for space, and emergency vehicles leaving the station had to cope with blind corners and school traffic.

“We gained a lot of safety for everyone, not just the fire department but the community,” Hale said.

At the ceremony, McGuire reiterated the improved safety features of the new station, including telling a story of how lockers at the old station were within feet of where trucks were rolling out. One firefighter was getting dressed at a locker when a truck left, and the truck caught his suspenders and turned him around.

McGuire, Hale, and Reeg all took time from speeches at the dedication ceremony to thank the community members and organizations who made the new station possible, including members of the VFW and American Legion who attended the ceremony that coincided with Veteran’s Day.

Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.

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