Town officials hope a project by the University of Maine at Augusta architecture program will result in designs the town can use for a new fire station they’re optimistic could be started within a year.
The project allows students in the three classes participating to tackle a specific community need and work within the requirements and needs of the client, the town of Randolph.
Town officials will review and judge the eight designs for each of the student teams at a presentation Dec. 18. Starks said even if one of the designs isn’t used for a new building, reviewing the designs “expands everyone’s vision of what’s possible.”
Mark Roberts, chairman of the Randolph Board of Selectmen, said he hopes the town can choose either one of the designs or a conglomeration of parts of the designs to use for a new fire station.
Voters at the Town Meeting two years ago approved a proposal to allow the town to buy property between Kinderhook and Windsor streets for a new fire department building and public works garage. A town committee has been working on what the town would need in a new building for more than a year, Roberts said.
The roughly 50-year-old station housing the town’s volunteer fire department on Water Street falls in the floodplain and is too small, said Fire Chief Ron Cunningham.
If the Kennebec River floods during the winter, the town has to find another place to house the two fire trucks, he said. When ice and snow is brought into the station on the trucks, the water ends up draining right into his office, Cunningham said. The station is also inefficient to heat, and parts of the floors and walls are separating and cracking, he said.
Cunningham said he hopes a new station will also attract more volunteers to the fire department, which has around a dozen members.
Adam Wallace, a fourth-year architecture student from Freeport, said the short time frame makes for a high-stress situation, but it’s still fun. He and Earl Shields, a fourth-year architecture student from Topsham, participated in the previous projects and wrote the design brief for the Randolph Fire Station project.
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