A new, nearly $1 million addition to the Hartzell Road fire station in New Haven dedicated Tuesday will be pressed into service for one of its intended uses Thursday.
The addition, which consists of an additional drive-thru bay that will typically house an ambulance, will become a site for free, drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday.
The 2,684-square-foot expansion “came out of how we could serve you (residents) better during the COVID-19 epidemic” when the fire station was a testing site, New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael said before the ceremonial cutting of a bright-red ribbon.
However, the new facility will continue to serve residents “for years and decades to come,” McMichael said.
Joshua Hale, chief of the New Haven-Adams Township Fire & EMS, wielded a giant scissors backed by about a dozen city, county and emergency officials.
Among the addition's features is a training room that can be used as a warming or cooling shelter, as the building is equipped with a generator in the case of an extended power failure, McMichael said.
The city does not have that kind of a facility, he said.
But New Haven has had occasions when one would have come in handy, such as the 2012 summertime derecho storm that cut power for several days, McMichael said.
The addition also houses restrooms and showers, although emergency workers are not expected to use the space as living quarters, the mayor said.
The $914,383 construction cost came from a county reimbursement, McMichael said.
Allen County Commissioner Rich Beck called the addition an example of “public-public cooperation.”
“We thought this was a viable cause, and we needed to step up and help make this happen,” he said during the dedication.
The vaccination clinic will also be open at 10 a.m. Friday. Anyone who lives or works in Indiana is eligible to use the site, which will offer both the one-dose Johnson & Johnson or two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
The clinic will return Aug. 12 to 14. Those needing a second shot can get one then, although first-time vaccinations also will be offered.
Those wishing to schedule vaccinations can do so by calling 211 or signing up onlne at ourshot.in.gov. Those without appointments also are welcome.
McMichael said the addition was finished ahead of schedule in about seven months. It will not require more staff, he said.
The mayor added he considers the addition is an informal way to honor area public safety workers – dispatchers, police, fire and emergency medical service staff – “who rose up valiantly to serve” during the pandemic.