Arlington, VA

Arlington officials are just about ready to kick off design work for a replacement for Fire Station 8 on Lee Highway.

The County Board is set to hand out a $1.1 million contract this weekend to start the planning process for the full reconstruction of the 100-year-old station.

The Board voted back in 2016 to approve the construction of a new, two-story building on the same site as the current station, located at 4845 Lee Highway. That decision was a particularly contentious one, as some favored relocating it to a site adjacent to Marymount University’s campus, a property that’s home to Arlington’s northern salt storage facility.

But the majority of the Board hoped to keep the station at the same location, reasoning that it would be closer to a rapidly developing section of the county. The station’s history also factored into the debate — it was once the only firehouse in segregated Arlington to employ black firefighters.

The $21 million project will eventually add a 15,000-square-foot building to the site, with room for four fire engine bays and a new fueling station, according to a report prepared for the Board by county staff.

Construction is set to start on the effort later this year, so long as the Board signs off on the design contract at its meeting Saturday (Jan. 26).

Once it does, the fire department will set up a “temporary engine bay structure” on some land along N. Culpepper Street that the county recently acquired for the project. Firefighters will have a temporary living quarters at an existing building along the street.

The current building just passed its 100th birthday just last year, and a celebration of its history is set to take place in Ballston tomorrow. It will be held at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association building (4301 Wilson Blvd) from 2-6 p.m.

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