The new high school site in Mt. Juliet could provide alternative acreage for Mt. Juliet's third fire station.
Officials say a few acres of the 64.5-acre tract at North Greenhill and Lebanon Roads selected this week to build a new high school may not be needed. Cost of the bonus acres is yet to be determined.
Those acres are now being considered by the City of Mt. Juliet and Fire Department of Mt. Juliet Chief Jamie Luffman for their third fire station. The acreage will go on the short list of potential sites under consideration and due diligence, Luffman said.
"I have been contacted about it and will research it," Luffman said. "But, I don't have an exact time frame."
However, school board members said it would most likely be four years out before school construction begins, and Luffman has researched two other fire station sites over the past six months and may want to get things going sooner, rather than later, when financing is determined.
Luffman said the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners will earmark funds from the sale of the city-owned former Sellars Funeral Home property toward a new fire hall. That transaction was approved on first reading last week.
"We can use the funds for the purchase of land for a fire station," Luffman said. "I've been told there are approximately two acres on the new high school property available for a fire department. There's not a precise pinpointed location. I've put it on the list."
The other two parcels on the list are a tract of land on South Greenhill Road that could be leased for $1 a year from West Wilson Utlility District. However, ingress and egress to this potential site could cost the city up to $300,000 for the construction of turn lanes.
And land is available at 13345 Lebanon Road, potentially for sale by Greenhill Church. The property has an empty house on it that was formerly owned by Fred Hayes. No price has been thrown out, but the parcel could cost a couple hundred thousand dollars. At this point everything is negotiable as there are several site options for the city.
"I get the impression from the pastor at Greenhill, the church may want to downsize, get out of some debt and be a community partner," Luffman said.
Currently, the city has a station behind City Hall in central Mt. Juliet, and two-and-a-half years ago the city built a new station near Providence on Belinda Parkway. It is staffed full time and has a full-time volunteer force.
Luffman said he's taken a lot of time researching the best possible site for the third station and now he has another option. He said the new station will serve many purposes.
"We need to know what it will cost," he said. "We want a multi-faceted building in design and reinforced to have a dispatch, ER center and training room," he said. "I am working with staff members and shift officers and picking their brains and coming up with the best data for this north side station. I'm finding out price per foot and then how much it will cost to develop one of these parcels. We can't just throw a building up."
Luffman said he's "definitely considering this new option at North Greenhill Road."
"It falls within the radius of the area, and meets all our demands and will also help reduce ISO ratings," he said.
As far as a timeline, Luffman said he needs time, anyway, to be financially diligent.
"We can only do something when it's financially feasible," he noted. "We are working diligently for cost efficiency."
In the meantime, the chief said Mt. Juliet is "well covered" and appreciates the automatic aid with the Wilson Emergency Management Agency.
Luffman said there will be many workshops planned before any final decision is made.
Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at email@example.com.