Barrington fire district plans new station next to middle school
The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District will use a house nestled between Barrington Middle School's Prairie Campus and the Barrington Area Unit School District 220 Early Learning Center as its third fire station, officials announced Thursday.
The district completed a deal Wednesday to pay $500,000 for the 1,462-square-foot house and surrounding acre.
Fire Chief James Kreher said the new station will enhance service levels, especially in the southeastern portions of the district.
"We expect to see much-improved response times for residents of Inverness, South Barrington, and unincorporated Barrington who reside within our service area," Kreher said in a written statement.
Before the sale was completed, representatives from the fire district and District 220 met to talk about how their now-adjacent facilities could coexist and maybe even collaborate in the future. Both sides said the talks were productive.
In one possible collaboration, the fire district could allow the school district to use part of its new land to maneuver school buses. There are about 1,500 students between Prairie Middle and the Early Learning Center, making the busing operation there the second-largest in the district.
By using the existing house, the fire district will end up spending far less than the $2 million allotted toward a new station. The district says it plans to make only minor facility upgrades to the house before putting it into service.
"The board of trustees' investment in our new Station 3 continues a long-standing commitment to deliver excellent services while simultaneously making the best use of taxpayer-funded resources," said Keith Hanson, the president of the Barrington Countryside board.
All three stations will operate with existing staff and equipment, officials said. The district's other stations are in Lake Barrington and Barrington Hills, from which it serves a 48-square-mile area that includes parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.
The district is working with Cook County to get a special-use permit so to operate the site as a fire station.