Board of Selectmen hold special meeting to review fire station building project

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

A rendering of the proposed new fire station.
Photo/submitted

Northborough – Board of Selectmen, Appropriations, Financial Planning and Fire Station Building committees came together in a joint meeting April 4 at the Northborough Free Library to hear a presentation on the status of the new Northborough Fire Station building project from Town Manager John Coderre and Stewart Roberts, architect with Johnson Roberts Associates, Inc.

“The point of this [meeting] is so that we can go to Town Meeting and get funding for the next phase which is the design phase,” stated Roberts. “What I will show you is the result of the feasibility and the site plan and the site selection. There’s still lots of design work that’s going to happen.”

Article 20 of the Annual Town Meeting, to be held Monday, April 22, seeks to have the town vote on a $3.5 million appropriation for Phase I of the site acquisition and design of the new fire station as well as the transfer of surplus bond proceeds from the recently completed Lincoln Street School renovation project.

It is important to note that in addition to Town Meeting authorization, a Ballot Question will also be presented for voters to approve at the Municipal Election Tuesday, May 14.

Total costs are expected to run $18.8 million based on the concept design containing approximately 26,460 square feet that was presented at the meeting. Construction costs alone are estimated at $15.4 million.

The current fire station was built 42 years ago to accommodate an all-volunteer staff, precluding the addition of Emergency Medical Services and without accommodations for female firefighters.

The new station provides facilities for equipment and personnel decontamination and has mechanical pressurized systems that will minimize spread of toxins from the apparatus to the living and public areas.

After an extensive site selection, involving many alternatives, including renovating the existing fire station, it was determined that the best solution was to acquire the parcels located at 10 Monroe St. and 61-65 West Main St. The owners of those parcels are willing to sell.

“Frankly I think most people would love to see that site redeveloped and have been waiting for something to come along,” remarked Coderre. “For us this is the best site possible.”

Final design and bidding are to occur later in the year and into early 2020. Appropriations for construction and project expenses will be sought at the April 2020 Town Meeting. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in the summer of 2020 with a fall 2021 opening.

Selectman Tim Kaelin asked what was the anticipated lifetime of the new station. The response from Coderre was 40-50 years.

“I’ve been in fire service for 40 years and I can tell you fire service has changed dramatically in those 40 years and our mission has changed drastically in 40 years,” noted Fire Chief David Parenti.

He added that one of the things that intrigued him about this site was that it had the ability for future expansion.

For more information, visit http://www.northborough-ma.gov/Pages/NorthboroughMA_BComm/FireStation/FDfeasibilitystudyApr2019.pdf