By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – Members of the Northborough Fire Station Building Committee met with Stew Roberts of Johnson Roberts Associates, Inc. Feb. 6 to review site plan and conceptual schematics for Northborough’s proposed new fire station.
Roberts’ concepts were based on the preferred location of 61-65 West Main St. (with the inclusion of 10 Monroe St.) which was voted on by the committee at their Jan. 15 meeting.
The property was selected because it provides adequate space that meets the department’s programmatic needs; it was a better location for operational access and response from Route 20 and would allow for future expansion.
The committee had considered a proposal for Church and Pierce streets, a.k.a. the “Pierce Street Site” which is where the current fire station is located. By building it elsewhere, the town would retain ownership of the Pierce Street property (valued anywhere between $550,000 and $750,000), which can be sold or reused for another municipal purpose.
The Main Street site isn’t without problems, however. Snow removal and runoff from extreme rain events (coming off of the hill behind the property) were discussed.
Town Administrator John Coderre recommended having the Department of Public Works look at the site plan for snow removal options.
On this particular site plan, 34 parking spaces are available. The interior floor plan is estimated at about 23,000 square feet and would more than double the roughly 11,500 footprint on Pierce Street.
The initial concept includes larger apparatus bays, medical storage, bunker gear, cleaning areas, an EMS decontamination area, and a scuba dive room. There is also meeting space and a training room, a fully functional kitchen, dining and day rooms, dorm rooms, laundry and changing areas.
“I think our assumption here is that it is mostly a brick building and we can also look at some metal panels,” stated Roberts.
He shared computer images of exterior elevations with flat, pitched and gabled roof lines. There was discussion about drainage, snow build up and ice. A pitched roof would allow for better drainage but a gabled roof would be more expensive to build with potential maintenance issues.
Most on the committee liked the gabled roof lines but realized the extra cost in construction and maintenance could be better used elsewhere.
“Aesthetically, where it’s going to be, we want it to be nice…but we also have to look at it cost-wise and operational-wise,” remarked Fire Chief David Parenti.
Coderre said that there are a lot of logistics that still need to be worked out on the debt exclusion project before it goes to Town Meeting. A comprehensive article will appear on the Town Meeting Warrant in April. It will contain conceptual design, preferred site, cost for land acquisition and cost to build the station.