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Lathrop Manteca Fire planning upgrade for ‘J’ Street fire station
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The Lathrop Manteca Fire District’s administrative operations may have moved to shiny new digs in River Islands, but the agency has not abandoned its former home in the heart of Historic Lathrop.

In fact, Fire Station 31 is about to get a major upgrade.

When the Board of Directors meets Thursday, they’re going to be deciding on elevations and façade alignments for the upcoming project at the J Street site – which will include renovations to the exterior of the building, which was completed in 1976, as well as changes to the internal structure of the building that will make it more livable for the personnel assigned to the site.

Eric Wohle of LDA Partners – the agency that has designed fire stations and municipal buildings for both the City of Manteca and the City of Lathrop and has done numerous projects for the Manteca Unified School District – just recently completed the plans.

While the district moved its core operations to River Islands to be more centrally located in what will eventually be the center of Lathrop, the pending upgrades are also being viewed as a sign that the agency has not abandoned its roots just because they moved to the other side of town.

“The community will have a safe, modern place to go in a time of need and people will be able to take pride itself in the building,” Fire Chief Gene Neely said of the project. “This will make sure that no matter where you are in Lathrop, you’re going to get the best level of service possible.

“Nobody is going to be neglected.”

According to Neely, the plans call for the exterior of the building to include the same brick finish found on Fire Station 35 – the new administrative complex – and changes to the internal portion of the building are set to include converting the barracks-style sleeping quarters into individual rooms to make them more uniform with what has become the industry standard.

Upgrades are also in the works for the workout room on the site as well as the room where turnouts and gear are stored by the multiple shifts that live and work on the premises. As part of the project a turnout extractor will also be installed so that the uniforms that firefighters rely on to protect them during fires can be washed and cleaned – meaning that each of the three fire stations inside of Lathrop’s city limits will have that capability.

Once the board makes the final elevation decisions at its next meeting – scheduled for Aug. 20 – the project is expected to go out to bid and construction could begin as early as September or October of this year.

Funding for the project will come from fire facilities fees – which are charged to development to help pay for public safety infrastructure and equipment – as well as the general fund and other financing avenues.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.