City breaks ground at Woolmarket, East End

Mayor A.J. Holloway, City Councilmembers, and local builders broke ground on new fire stations to serve the Woolmarket and Point Cadet areas of Biloxi today, and the historical significance of the moment was not lost on the mayor.

“You’d have to go back almost 70 years to 1936 – almost three quarters of a century – for the last time that the City of Biloxi had two fire stations under construction at the same time,” Holloway said this morning in a cermeony at Woolmarket. “In fact, at one point in 1937, the city had three stations under construction — West End, Back Bay and the old Central Station at Main and Howard.

“I’m happy to say that we’ve replaced Central with the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center, we’ve rebuilt the Back Bay station, and the Fire Museum is now housed in that original West End Station.
Back in 1937, the Biloxi Fire Department had 38 members.

“Today, we have 167 members of the Biloxi Fire Department, and with stations like this one and the one we’ll be building at East End, we’re providing these men with the best equipment, the best training and best pay to do a great job for the people of Biloxi.
“Today is also a historic occasion in another way. This station is testament of our commitment to provide quality services to the people of Woolmarket. And in this case, it’s a life-saving example.

KEL Construction Co. of Saucier will construct the Woolmarket station for $950,382, and Starks Construction Co. of Biloxi, which bid $948,500, will build the new station on Howard Avenue, immediately west of the aging Kurt Jacquet station.

The Woolmarket station will be situated on a site the city purchased off Oaklawn Drive, south of the I-10 exit at Woolmarket. The Point Cadet station will be positioned on former Biloxi Housing Authority property immediately west of the current station.

Biloxi Fire Chief David Roberts said the 6,882-square foot stations, which were designed by architect Mark Williams of Williams and Associates, PA of Biloxi, will be similar in appearance. They are designed to withstand 155 mph winds, sleep up to eight firefighters, and will feature two drive-through engine bays.

The stations also will have state-of-the-art electronic communications systems and have uninterrupted power supply systems capable of fully powering each station in the event of an emergency.