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Work expected to be completed in March
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While original construction estimates called for a December occupation, the current construction climate forced the district to push back the opening of the state-of-the-art facility that will eventually house the district’s administrative offices and two companies.

When the Lathrop Manteca Fire District announced their newest fire station – Station 35, in River Islands – the original plan had the building occupied and operational by late last year. 

But with construction in Central California at a fever pitch, and crews stretched thin across the Northern California as development booms, it’ll still be a couple of months before the district’s administrative offices and new engine company come online in the new location.

The state-of-the-art firehouse – which will include eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, a community meeting space, and a conference center – will once again unify the administrative offices of the growing district that have recently been posted at different locations because of space issues. 

“That will be crucial – having everybody under one roof again,” said Lathrop Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely. “I firmly believe in a team effort, and I want everybody available to bounce ideas off of one another without having to pick up a phone or drive over to a different location – it’s what works best for my leadership style, and it creates the best environment for us to serve those that live within the district. 

“I tend to want everybody to be involved in everything – to do everything in a group setting – and this new administrative office will allow us to do just that.”

The move, however, will be a significant change and a representation of the pace at which Lathrop is growing. 

Located just across the Bradshaw’s Crossing Bridge on the western side of the San Joaquin River, the fire district headquarters will, for the first time in decades, be located outside of the heart of what is now considered “Historic Lathrop” so as to cater to the growth taking place in River Islands. The completion of the long-awaited bridge connecting River Islands to the Mossdale neighborhood was a huge win for emergency services – before it was opened crews were having to drive down Manthey Road to and backtrack through the neighborhood to get to the furthest reaches of the new development – but with more and more houses going in, and thousands more left to go, the time had come for the community to have its own fire station. 

While Station 35 won’t be the first in the district to have room for two separate companies – Station 34, off of River Islands Parkway on the east side of the river, is equipped to run two separate engines and crews – but will be the first to have the additional space for administrative offices.  

According to Neely, development in River Islands is almost at the halfway point to where the district will start to consider placing an order for a truck – the second company that will be posted at Station 35. Considerations are underway to make the new station the district’s dive training facility, complete with a dive pool. 

The exact date of operation is still up in the air, but Neely said that he hopes to be mostly moved in to the new complex by March 4, and current plans call for a ribbon cutting and open house later in the year. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.