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Revitalizing Leepertown Grade School

Bureau Fire Protection District moves forward with plans

Published: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 3:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 3:37 p.m. CDT

BUREAU — The long wait is over for the Bureau Fire Protection District.

The grant that was awarded to the district in 2009, to help fund the construction of a building to house the fire trucks at the former Leepertown Grade School, has finally arrived.

Fire chief Tim Shipp was happy to announce the $215,000 check came in at the end of January, and plans to start construction on the project will begin this April or May.

The fire district has been using the former school to house offices, but it has been waiting to move the fire trucks over from their original location at the village hall.

A big concern with waiting five years for the monies to come through, was the increase in costs to construct a building. In a previous interview with Shipp, he reported the district had to cut about $40,000 of the expenses on the original project plan.

On Monday, Shipp confirmed the size of the building had to be slightly decreased to save on expenses.

Shipp said he hopes to have the project completed by November. Having the trucks all in one location will cut down about 10 to 12 minutes on response calls to the rural areas.

Once the fire district has constructed the pole building and has completed upgrades on the offices in the newer portion of the former grade school, the district has plans to utilize the older portion of the building.

Shipp said the upper level of the building will be used for fire training, and the lower portion of the building will be transformed into a community museum. There has been talk about displaying memorabilia on the former school, fire department, railroads and other community artifacts.

Other long-term goals of the building include building a commercial kitchen and using the old gymnasium as a community center to host fundraisers.

When the fire district moves to the former school building, they will have to break off from village expenses and pay for the utilities at the new location.

In a former interview with Shipp, he said paying for utilities will mean less money that will go into upgrades and replacements needed for the fire rescue equipment. Therefore, being able to host fundraisers in the community center would be an ideal investment for the citizens and volunteer firefighters.

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