AMBOY – Amboy Fire Department Assistant Chief Scott Wittenauer addressed the Feb. 21 Amboy Board of Education meeting to discuss the fire department’s interest in obtaining a portion of the current junior high property for a new fire station.
Wittenauer said plans for a new fire station are in the preliminary stages but due to grant requirements, they would like to have a firm commitment on a piece of property in the coming months. “We really do want to stay in town but there just aren’t that many parcels of land this big that are not in the flood plain,” he explained.
Wittenauer noted that the fire department covers a 135-square-mile district and is one of the largest districts in the state. Although people outside of Amboy have offered land for a new fire station, the concern is the amount of time it would take to respond to a fire miles away in Amboy.
Since the fire department’s current location is in the flood plain, it is not possible for them to expand. “We cannot even put a post in the ground to put a lean-to on our building now as we’ve already been turned down by the county trying to do this,” Wittenauer said. “We are desperately in need of land for growth.”
To help visualize the layout of the fire department’s proposal, Wittenauer showed some preliminary drawings of the size and placement of the fire station and explained that the access would be onto Appleton Avenue. At one end of the approximately $2.5 million building there would be offices, restrooms, a kitchen, storage and large event room that would be available for use by the community. The larger portion of the building would be the apparatus bay, which would house vehicles. Driveways would be needed on both sides of the building and around one end.
“The building would go from the front doors of the junior high down to the parking lot on the north end. That’s what we need for this building, so if you guys want to keep part of the property, that’s fine,” Wittenauer said. “This is our dream building, the one that we want to build. We want every door in the apparatus bay have one vehicle in it. We don’t want to stack vehicles behind each other where you have to take one out to get to the other one.”
The fire department’s major grant application is due June 1 but a definite land commitment is not needed until grants are awarded in March 2020. However, Wittenauer noted that they would like to have land secured well before that so they can stop the search for property. “If we find a decent piece of land, then we don’t have to continue looking,” he said. “We’re applying for multiple grants . . . we’re trying to get any or all of the grants we can, but we’re going to need to put a building up very soon whether it’s by a grant or not.”
Board president Nicole Jones said she contacted the district’s legal advisors regarding the property but has not yet heard back from them. “When we get the legalities of it, we have to discuss it and consider any other interested buyers,” she said.
Jones also noted that the property will not be available for three years but Wittenauer said that would not be a problem since the fire department is just in the beginning stages of the process.
Amboy High SchoolPrincipal Janet Crownhart congratulated January Student of the Month Mitchell McLaughlin.
Curriculum and School Improvement
Crownhartcongratulated the girls basketball team for their greatseason and advancing to super sectionals. She also congratulated Avery Shaw for advancing to state forwrestling.
Principal Andrew Full, Amboy Junior High
Curriculum and School Improvement
Principal Joyce Schamberger, Central Elementary
Amended 2018-19 calendar
Due to an unprecedented number of weather related school closings, the board approved some amendments to this year’s school calendar. A day of attendance was added on the day after Easter, April 22 and the junior high graduation date was moved to May 31. Nichols noted that high school graduation will remain on the original date.
The board accepted the low bid of DEM Services, Inc. of Addison for asbestos abatement at Amboy Junior High School. Nichols said the abatement will be done over spring break and then they will have to determine where the leak is and make the necessary repairs.
Nichols thanked Al Quest, director of transportation, for his help getting the busses up and running during the recent extreme cold weather. Nichols said Quest not only comes in early to get the busses going and warmed up for the drivers but he is also out checking the road conditions very early in the morning. He also thanked the road commissioners who provide valuable information on road conditions during bad weather.
The next regular meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 at Amboy High School.