Site plans approved for Northborough fire station project

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Site plans approved for Northborough fire station project
This shows a rendering of the future Northborough Fire Department station at 61-65 West Main St. (Photo/Courtesy Northborough Fire Department)

NORTHBOROUGH – Site plans for the new Northborough Fire Station have been approved by the Planning Board.

During the June 18 meeting, project engineer Jim Jackson walked the Planning Board through the changes to the fire station, which is set to be about 30,000 square feet at 61-65 West Main St.

One of the changes was to realign the western driveway with the Dunkin’ driveway across the street. HKT Architects’ Amy Dunlap said they spoke with two companies that manufacture snow retention devices, both of which recommended a single snow rail to run along the perimeter of the roof. However, following Planning Board concerns, the plans called for two rails along the northern roof slope.

Originally, the Fire Station Building Committee applied for a variance with the Zoning Board of Appeals to allow for an electronic sign, which was denied. Dunlap said the committee selected an alternative design with a panel bearing the fire department’s seal.

Next steps

Town leaders anticipate that the project will go before Town Meeting for a vote on Oct. 7, followed by a ballot vote during the presidential election in November.

According to Fire Chief David Parenti, with this approval from the Planning Board and other land use boards in town, the project is now moving into the construction document phase. This means the project’s architects will begin to develop the construction documents, which are more detailed.

He anticipates that those documents will be 50% completed by the committee’s meeting on July 31 at which time they will be reviewed.

“We may at that point in time do some value engineering and say, ‘OK, we decided we wanted to change this or we want to do that.’ It really depends,” he said.

The committee also needs to decide when it wants to go out to bid on the project. Parenti said the difference between whether the committee goes out to bid before or after Town Meeting is that going out to bid before would allow more accurate numbers at Town Meeting.

The committee has finished its design development review, resulting in more detailed designs compared to the schematic design. They conducted another cost estimate for construction, which resulted in a range of $41.9 to $44.1 million.

After the committee meets at the end of July, the project will go before the Financial Planning and Appropriations committees. The committee will also go before the Select Board, whose members will set a date for the special Town Meeting and vote to move the project to the ballot. Parenti anticipated that the Select Board may take action in early August.

“The building committee has worked diligently to design a building that meets our needs — not our wants, but our needs,” said Parenti.

The committee has also reached out to other communities to inquire about the price of their stations.

“That is the number that we’re seeing across the commonwealth for new fire stations and new municipal construction,” said Parenti. “We will continue working on it and continue looking at it with a critical eye. We want to give the people of Northborough a station that will last them 50 years that they don’t have to come back in five years to put an addition on. … We want to do it now.”

For additional information on the project, including future and past meetings and a frequently asked questions, visit https://www.town.northborough.ma.us/fire-rescue-emergency-management/pages/northborough-fire-station-project.

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