The transformation of a northwest fire station into a building that houses emergency personnel as well as actual housing has begun.

A Monday morning groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the construction of a new multi-service complex on the site of the current station in Varsity, located near the intersection of 32nd Avenue and 37th Street N.W., just north of the University of Calgary campus.

The project, which is expected to be completed in the winter of 2023, will see Fire Station 17 redeveloped to include four Calgary Fire Department bays, an EMS bay, a 48-unit Calgary Housing development and a leasable space that could potentially be used as a childcare space.

"The safety of Calgarians is our number one priority," said Calgary Fire Department Chief Steve Dongworth in a statement. "We asked the surrounding communities what their vision was for the new multi-service redevelopment. We heard that the fire station should also serve as a hub for the community.

"We’re very pleased with the resulting features, which will foster a greater connection between Calgarians, firefighters and city staff."

The redevelopment of the fire station is the first project undertaking within the city's integrated civic facilities planning program using the guidance of council to build multi-service facilities on city-owned land. The developments are expected to make better use of currently owned property and improve service to the greater community.

"Multi-use facilities are more fiscally and environmentally responsible," said Ryan Meier, acting manager of City of Calgary facility planning. "Using this integrated approach means we can leverage investment opportunities to provide more citizen amenities in a multi-use facility than at a single use site, which also reduces the environmental footprint."

City officials says the Varsity redevelopment has been designed to reduce carbon emissions, minimize environmental impacts and enhance the health and well-being of the users and occupants of the building.

For additional details on the project visit City of Calgary – Varsity Multi-Service Redevelopment.