Westford (MA) Works to Decrease Fire Station Costs

Following news that plans for the center fire station project came in at $4 million more than what was appropriated at last year’s annual Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen has asked the Permanent Town Building Committee and architects from Dore & Whittier Inc., find ways to further cut costs and prove their credibility to taxpayers.

Upon realizing that the cost of the facility had risen to more than $16 million, the PTBC and Dore & Whittier presented a list of cost-saving measures to selectmen Tuesday night, identifying nearly 40 places to cut costs. Last year, voters appropriated $12.7 million for the project.

The high cost estimate was attributed to an addition to the size of the building, as well as an increase in construction costs, said Don Walter of Dore & Whittier.

In addition to those issues, about $200,000 in funds is needed for arsenic and lead abatement on the project site.

To help cut the price, reductions by Dore & Whittier include bringing the station back down to its original size of about 22,000 square feet, making some parts of the roof flat rather than sloped, and reducing by 30 percent the amount of brick exterior.

Reducing the square-footage of the building would save $650,000, making parts of the roof flat, about $200,000. However, even with the cuts proposed by Dore & Whittier, the project was still expected to cost more than $15 million.

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