EDINET, Moldova -- The residents in the town of Edinet located in the northern part of the Republic of Moldova will soon have a newly renovated fire and rescue station with an emergency operations center.

Moldova is a developing country that declared its independence and established its boundaries in 1991, as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

"As a new country, there are a lot of things happening here for the first time," Dorin Trestianu, Office of Defense Cooperation assistant program manager said. "Part of the broader civil protection and disaster preparedness capability is building a network of regional fire and rescue stations with EOCs. These facilities are a top priority for our country and our communities. The Edinet station is part of that developing system."

The nearly $430,000 project, funded by the U.S. European Command's humanitarian assistance program and overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, is part new construction and part renovation of an existing building.

"As much as we would like to, we can't renovate and reconstruct every regional fire and rescue station," Trestianu said. "Balancing scarce resources, we concentrate on stations where renovations are needed most. We look for area where there isn't a nearby station or for stations that are strategically located. We're really trying to spread the wealth."

Although Edinet has a population of only 18,000 people, the station, according to Trestianu, will be the primary first responder for 47 villages, 10 major industrial enterprises, and other businesses which brings the total area of responsibility to approximately 896 square kilometers and 97,000 people.

"With so many residents depending on the station's services, the station must be a fully functional facility that can respond to its populace in the case of any disaster," Trestianu said.

The existing building was not designed to be a fire station, but by updating and renovating nearly every surface, adding new windows, exterior and interior doors, new insulation, flooring and completely upgrading the electrical system; the station will better serve the residents while providing a more user-friendly environment for the employees.

"When we started the project, the floors were falling through, there was mold on the walls and ceilings, the fire truck bays were deteriorating and the toilets were outside," said Marcelo Maier, a USACE civil engineer. "After the renovations are finished, the building will not only have three new bay garages with larger-wider doors, making it easier for trucks to be pulled for storage and repairs when needed; it will also have indoor toilets."

Additionally, a second story will be constructed adding approximately 420 more square meters of living and working space. This area will house a sleep area for on-duty personnel, restrooms and showers, administration and training areas, office and storage spaces, and a break room and kitchenette.

"These renovations will give the employees adequate service, duty and training spaces," Trestianu said. "But, more importantly the renovations will significantly improve Moldova's ability to quickly and professionally respond to a disaster which goes directly towards the enforcement of stability and security both at the local and regional levels."

Renovations and construction is expected to be complete by summer 2012.