It might not look like much now, but in a little more than a year from now, the vacant lot at the intersection of Oak Street and Cherokee Lane will be home to the new brick Fire Station 2, which will match Lincoln Technical Academy across the street.

In its honor, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Lodi and Woodbridge held a cornerstone ceremony for the new station on Friday afternoon attended by Lodi Councilman Larry Hansen, San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel, who represents Lodi, and Grand Master of the Freemasons John Cooper III.

“George Washington himself did a ceremony like this during the building of the United States Capitol,” Cooper told the crowd. “The symbolism is so much more important, in my opinion. It’s important that Masons — Freemasons — lay cornerstones.”

In his speech, Cooper said that ceremonies like this began with stone masons 400 years ago in the United Kingdom, a tradition that carried over the ocean during colonization.

During the ceremony, Hansen said the new fire station will have a brick facade similar to the school across the street, and that no financing will be needed to construct the building.

Lodi Fire Capt. Robert Bussman said the fire crew welcomes their new home, because the old one was plagued by water damage, mold and rats.

“We’re looking forward to it. (It) has better access to roads,” Bussman said.

According to Lodi Fire Chief Lawrence Rooney, the new building will be 7,900 square feet and will cost the city $4,227,740, with funding awarded by the Lodi City Council on Aug. 8. The cost includes renovations to the lot and the sidewalk around it.

Construction is expected to begin in September. The project will take about 15 months to complete, according to city officials.

“It’s going to serve the community for a long time,” Rooney said.

Contact reporter James Striplin at jamess@lodinews.com.

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