By Tamas Mondovics

Hillsborough County’s newest 9,300 sq. ft., three-bay fire station located on Bloomingdale Ave., is only weeks away.

According to Fire Rescue spokesman Ronnie Rivera, the construction of the new $2.3 million station, located at 1292 Bloomingdale Ave. just east of Bell Shoals Rd., between the intersections of Springvale Dr. and Hurley Rd., is all but complete and is poised to open to the public.

“Residents can expect the new station to begin operation by the middle of May,” Rivera said.

The new station is replacing the existing South Brandon Fire Station (#7) currently located at 122 W. Bloomingdale Ave., just west of John Moore Rd.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) has considered the question of whether to rebuild at the original location, but determined it would be best to relocate the facility to a new site.

The station will be operated by full time firefighters with a minimum of a three-member crew per shift around the clock.

As the department’s last original station that has not been renovated, or rebuilt, the old station is now being considered by HCFR to perhaps be used as a historical community outreach facility, with specific details about its future and use yet to come.

HCFR also was pleased to schedule a groundbreaking ceremony for its long anticipated Public Safety Operations Complex slated to house the County’s Fire Rescue Headquarters and the Emergency Operations Center, both currently located on Hanna Ave. in Tampa.

The new complex will be a $26.5 million facility located on 20 acres on Columbus Dr., between Falkenburg Rd. and U.S. Hwy. 301 in the Brandon area.

“The 52,000-square-foot main building will house Fire Rescue’s administrative staff and training center, the Emergency Dispatch Center, and the Office of Emergency Management,” said Michelle Van Dyke with Hillsborough County Communications and Digital Media.

Construction will also include an onsite 10,000-sq.-ft. fleet operations area and a 15,500-sq.-ft. warehouse.

A key component of the facility will be the new, state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center. As disaster preparedness and response efforts have evolved and with more agencies working together, the current facility has become crowded and outdated,” Van Dyke said adding that the new space will feature room for more personnel, a more efficient layout, a larger media area, more sleeping quarters, and up-to-date technology.

The facility also will be built to the highest hurricane rating construction standards.

The project is being funded by General Revenue and Public Safety Improvement Bond Project Funds with a competition by September 2016.

For more information about Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.