Breswter (MA) Considers $13.5 Million Fire Station

Architect Fabrizio Caruso of CDR Maguire has reworked his fire station plan (the bonding for the final design and engineering plan failed to pass during last fall’s election) to trim costs and preserve the old station. The original plan would’ve torn down the old station after the new one was built directly behind it.

The new plan pushes the new fire station further back, obliterating the ball field, but keeps the old building which could then house the natural resources department. An earlier study proposed a new natural resources building that would’ve cost $1.3 million.

The new station would be 1,100 square feet smaller than the previously proposed one — it achieves that by shedding one equipment bay and reductions in office and other space.

However the total estimated cost isn’t much less; $13.5 million compared with $13.6 million. Construction costs escalate every year. As was noted Monday night the original “new” fire station (voted down in 2002) would’ve cost $3.7 million, the 2008 plan (shelved by the recession) pegged the cost at $11.3 million.

“We can come up with a plan to minimize the impact and phase in the cost over time,” Town Administrator Charles Sumner said.

Project manager Richard Pomeroy said the station plan failed to past town meeting last spring because of bad timing (overrides regarding the Eddy Elementary School roof), concerns that a new community/senior center should be part of the equation, it was too big and too costly, it was in the wrong spot and it would destroy a valuable building. They’ve tried to address those objections.

Other sites were looked at and disposed of — mostly because they would increase response times to distant parts of town.

The big change was moving the building. That way the old station can remain in front while the new station has a dedicated access road. The old bays could store natural resources boats and trucks as well as recreation equipment now scattered around town. The current natural resources garage (across the street from the fire station) could be sold.

Pomeroy said renovating the current station would be prohibitively expensive; there are code violations and site issues.

Selectman Peter Norton noted voters rejected the last plan and perhaps the town should wait till more information was received from the government survey.

Voters won’t be asked to fund a final design until next year at least. But they will be asked about a new senior/community center next week. There’s a $35,000 feasibility and needs study on the town meeting (Nov. 17) docket.

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