New Architects For Boston Road Fire Station Expected By May

Recently the Permanent Town Building Committee recommended that the Selectmen fire Dore and Whittier, the architectural firm responsible for planning the proposed Boston Road Fire Station. The Selectmen followed up on that recommendation and now it’s time to find Dore and Whittier’s replacement.

The Permanent Town Building Committee met on Tuesday to discuss a timeline for that task as well as other thoughts on the process moving forward.

A new architectural firm is expected to arise in early May after the committee closes its window for applicants on April 14 and whittles down the field during meetings on April 25 and May 5.

Contrary to advice given by Town Manager Jodi Ross, the Permanent Town Building Committee is not putting a maximum fee amount toward prospective firms, although they expect the fee to be a significant part of the selection process.

Any firms applying for the job won’t have to start from scratch; schematics created by Dore and Whittier will be retained by the town and Dore and Whittier still has some limited work left to do connected with the conclusion of its contracted work before the town decided to move on.

Whoever is chosen will likely retain some of what has already been done, but also provide a fresh look on the process.

“It’s unfortunate what happened. You’re going to get the same sized building,” said Paul Davies, a member of the committee. “The square footage is going to be similar to what we had, but (Dore and Whittier’s) problem was in the estimating.”

(l to r) Paul Davis, Tom Mahanna and Tom Ellis at the March 29, 2016 Permanent Town Building Committee Meeting.

(l to r) Paul Davis, Tom Mahanna and Tom Ellis at the March 29, 2016 Permanent Town Building Committee Meeting.

New cost estimates are still being made by outside firms independently of the architectural firm application bids, and members of the committee spoke about the importance of staying within the $12.7 million appropriation provided by the town.

However, that figure is likely to be balanced with an expectation that any new plans will also include key building features such as a joint Police/Fire training area and four vehicle apparatus bays.

A briefing session and a tour of the current Central Fire Station for any architectural firms interested in submitting proposals will take place on Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Police Station Training Room.

Permanent Town Building Committee Chairman Tom Mahanna indicated during the meeting that additional materials relating to the process so far will be added to the town’s website in the near future.