Work began this week to turn the old Smokehouse restaurant near Coligny Circle into a temporary substation for the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division.
Crews are building fire bays to accommodate the department's trucks and ambulances.
The town plans to spend $187,000 renovating the former restaurant to house fire staff while a new station is built at Shipyard Plantation. The new station will replace Fire Station No. 1, 70 Cordillo Parkway, which was built in the 1960s by the now-defunct Sea Pines Forest Beach Fire Department.
Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue took over the station in 1993, when it was formed from the consolidation of the Sea Pines Forest Beach Fire Department, the Hilton Head Fire District and the Hilton Head Island Rescue Squad.
Fire Station No. 1 has "reached the end of its useful life," said Fire Chief Lavarn Lucas.
The new station should serve the town for at least 30 years, he said.
Lucas said the new station, which will be on the same site as the current one, will be able to withstand Category 3 hurricane winds and be built at a higher elevation to reduce the chance of flooding. Construction of the new station is expected to begin in September and last about a year, he said.
Lucas said the old Smokehouse location was chosen because it's on town-owned land, close to the fire station at Shipyard and has good access in and out for fire vehicles.