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Pictured here is the current West Brattleboro Fire Station, which is scheduled for renovations beginning in August.

BRATTLEBORO >> Central Fire Station is up next for review in the police-fire facilities upgrade project.

"Since our last presentation to you, which was in 2014, the land use regulations have changed," said Ray Giolitto, of Northeast Collaborative Architects. "We had to do some recalculating with drainage and there's some landscaping requirements along Church Street."

Plans shown at Tuesday's Select Board meeting included a handicap accessible parking space. The existing building has four engine bays and a second floor. Sleeping rooms are part of the renovations in there. The two bays facing Spring Street will remain the same. Part of one of the bays facing Elliot Street will be used for a new administrative area. The other three will house the fire department's smaller vehicles.

Three new, bigger apparatus bays will accommodate the larger trucks with a section for clean-up and decontamination in a single story design. Each new bay can fit two vehicles.

For the northwest corner addition, the hose tower will be three stories high of which the bottom floor will be used for storage room.

Where the new and existing buildings meet will be the captain's office, lieutenant's office, a small training room and the station watch desk.

"I don't think it doubles the square footage," Fire Chief Mike Bucossi told the Reformer. "It certainly improves the flow of the building. It gives ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access through out and it provides better access to the administrative staff because now we're downstairs in front of the building. And it provides us with modern apparatus bays, big enough for us to put the large trucks in without using a shoehorn basically."


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Select Board member David Schoales called the improvements "impressive" in the way they address truck weight concerns and office space arrangement.

"It's really well done," he said.

The Police-Fire Facilities Building Committee reviewed the plans for Central Fire Station on July 13 and approved of submitting an application to the Development Review Board in order to obtain a local permit. The DRB is expected to hold a hearing on the application on Aug. 15.

Town Manager Peter Elwell said Central Fire Station would not need the Design Review Committee's blessing since the property is outside of the designated area that signals the committee's process.

"We have time and flexibility going forward in terms of the final color choices for what the exterior will look like so we'll be back to see you," he told the Select Board.

The PFFB Committee is meeting again on Aug. 10 to review the design for the new police station at 62 Black Mountain Road. The site is home to the Reformer newspaper operations and a second environmental assessment is underway to address concerns regarding materials from the printing process found in the sanitary sewer system. The state had suggested taking another look. The project, Elwell said, is still moving along on time.

Approximately 8,500 square feet will be left vacant in the Municipal Center, prompting discussion of board members. Elwell has met with representatives of the state of Vermont and the Brattleboro Housing Authority, and he plans to discuss options with both groups moving forward. He said he will also consider whether renting space in the building is a viable option for the town and how space could be optimized. A professional will be hired to assist in those determinations.

Payments for bonds being issued for the construction will be lower than originally anticipated. Officials had initially presented a projected annual interest rate of 3.269 percent. But the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank sold bonds at an average annual interest rate of about 2.7 percent over a 20-year span. Select Board Chairman David Gartenstein estimated the savings to be in the $35,000 to $40,000 range within the first year.

A groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for the West Brattleboro Fire Station on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 4 p.m. Construction is expected to begin the first week of August.

"It's all going forward now," said Bucossi. "Both stations are on track and on schedule. Everyone's really excited to break ground and get to the building process now."

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.