Sumter, SC (WLTX) -- The Sumter Police and Fire Departments will have a new place to call home next year. Construction of a new public safety complex is underway.
The Sumter Fire Department was built in 1969, and during that time, there were about 20 firefighters in the building. Forty-eight years later, there are now 107 career firefighters in the department.
After working closely on the front lines, the firefighters are forced to return to cramped living quarters.
"We are moving into the living quarters. As you can see, there are beds that are close in quarters," said Joseph Duggan, the Battalion Chief.
Thanks to the "Penny for Progress", the Sumter firefighters will have a new home. The "Penny for Progress" was approved by the Sumter County voters in the general elections in 2008. It authorizes the Sumter County Council to impose a temporary sales tax to fund 16 capital projects.
"It has served its purpose for us," said Duggan.
The new facility doubles in size - 24,000 square feet - and will include a training room, as well as designated offices for its officers, including the training and inspections departments.
"As where we are now, we had to take closets and build walls into dorm spaces to make it happen here," said Duggan.
Officials hope construction will be complete by next April.