Over the last year, many downtown Nevada business owners have been contemplating making renovations to their buildings, such as adding apartments to the upper level of some building.

The possibility of making renovations began after the city council approved Main Street Nevada’s request to apply for the Community Catalyst Grand in January.

While the grant distributes $100,000 from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to renovate one building, many owners on Main Street began ponder renovations, according to Henry Corbin, Main Street Nevada’s director.

In an effort to educate business owners on renovations of historic buildings, Main Street Nevada, the Nevada Fire Department and the National Fire Sprinklers Association [NFSA] will be hosting a live seminar on Wednesday, June 10 at 1:30 p.m. to educate the community about sprinklers and the fire code needed to make such renovations.

“In order [to make renovations], it would require each building [to be] brought up to code and put sprinklers in the system,” said Nevada’s Director of Fire and EMS Chief Ray Reynolds. “Nationally, that’s a very big discussion, and oftentimes is a detractor for somebody investing in their building.”

The live seminar — which will be held in front of Nevada’s City Hall and on Facebook Live – will include guests from both the sprinkler and fire-fighting industry.

Tim Butler, the regional rep from NFSA will be moderating the discussion between Shane Ray, the former fire marshall for the state of South Carolina and Columbia Heights, Minnesota’s Fire Chief Charlie Thompson.

Thompson worked on a historic district sprinkler retrofit project in Anoka, Minn., while serving as the Fire Chief.

Although by renovating these historic buildings will modernize the building slightly, the hope is to keep the historic authenticity of some of the buildings that have been around since the 1800’s, Reynolds said.

“It is vital that we protect who we are as a community and identity, but most importantly we provide safety for the occupants that are going to be taking over these newly renovated buildings,” Reynolds said.

The benefits of these sprinklers have already been seen at various places throughout Story County including Story County Medical Center, where a small fire ignited in the janitorial room, according to Reynolds, as before anyone noticed the flames, the sprinkles put out the flames, Reynolds said.

Though the pandemic has resulted in multiple cancellations for events in the community, the Nevada community is looking forward to hosting the first event since before the pandemic.

“It’s exciting and its kind of a good mix because its during the day and [it’s] a web-based learning experience,” Corbin said. “We’ve all grown so used to the online thing, so by having an event in-person like what used to be the normal, while still utilizing online options [and] social distancing — we’re really excited,” Corbin said. “It’s a small step towards the new normal.”