Police-fire committee OKs new plan


BRATTLEBORO - The Police-Fire Facility Building Committee members have unanimously endorsed a new scaled-down project that is almost $3 million less than the original $14.1 million project town meeting representatives approved in October 2012.

The Police-Fire Facility Building Committee met for about two hours Tuesday, before the special Selectboard meeting, to try to figure out how the town should proceed with its proposed renovation project of its emergency response buildings.

The police-fire committee talked about a range of options and finally settled on a decision to build a new combined police and fire facility at the Central Fire Station site on Elliot Street.

That building would cost about $7.2 million.

Additional costs, including building a new station in West Brattleboro, would bring the new project in at about $11.7 million.

The board studied a number of options, which included only addressing the life safety and health issues at the three locations. However, the committee voted unanimously not to endorse any project that only addressed the life safety and health issues, saying those options would only serve the town for five to 10 years.

Committee member Steve Phillips called that option a Band Aid plan that only addresses the immediate problems at the stations.

Police Chief Gene Wrinn and Fire Chief Mike Bucossi both said they would endorse the combined station plan.

If the Selectboard moves ahead with the new plan, then a new Representative Town Meeting would need to be called to approve the idea.

At the Police-Fire Facility Building Committee meeting, Project Manager Steve Horton presented other options which largely left the three-building approach on the table, yet reduces the cost by between $1 million to $2.3 million.

Those saving were reached by eliminating the third floor on the fire station, not purchasing new office furnishings and using alternative materials throughout.

It would cost the town about $5.7 million to only improve the health and safety issues at the three buildings, but the committee made it clear that it would not support that plan.

Under the new proposed plan the police department would move into the existing 12,000-square-foot brick fire station building and the fire department would get a new 24,000-square-foot metal building.

The West Brattleboro station would stay open.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.


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