HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Construction began on a new fire station in the Wythe neighborhood of Hampton Friday.

The new station will replace the existing 80-year-old station which does not accommodate modern fire equipment.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Vice Mayor Jimmy Gray. “When I was Fire Chief from 2004 to 2010, we were talking about it. When I was an assistant city manager, we were talking about it. We’re not talking about it anymore. We’re sticking shovels in the dirt” and beginning to build. 

According to City Manager Mary Bunting, the new station’s more central location, on Pembroke Avenue, will also serve a larger area.

Fire Chief Jason Monk says the new firehouse will serve both professional and volunteer fire fighters.

Additionally, the new station will include a specialized gym to help fire and rescue crews stay fit.