New Tenant Goucher Arcitects Video on Proposed Fire Station Updated February 18, 2018
At the March 2007, Newbury residents voted to purchase the Bald Sunapee property, on Route 103, directly east of the Newbury Library. In June of that year, a public visioning session was held to discuss the future use of that property. One of the recommendations to come out of that meeting was the construction of a new fire station on that property.
Additional public meetings were held to discuss the use of the property in the summer of 2007.
In 2011 The Town Center Building Committee was formed to study the site and make recommendations to the board of selectmen for the future use of the property. The committee included architects, engineers, representatives of police and fire, town administration and the general public. The committee met for several months and in January 2012 presented their recommendations to the Selectboard. The proposal provided options for the construction of a new police and fire station on the property
In 2015 the Safety Service Building Study Committee was formed to develop a proposal for a safety facility on this property and the future use of the existing Safety Services Building and make recommendations to the Selectboard for a possible warrant article to be brought to the voters at the March 2016 Town meeting. Several public meetings as well as committee meetings and the proposal was made to the Selectboard in January 2016.
The proposal for the new Safety Service Buildings was on the meeting at the March 2016 Town Meeting. Since this proposal was for a bond, the warrant article required a two thirds majority of the voters at town meeting. There was considerable discussion at town meeting with voters in favor of a new safety facility but not at the cost that was in the warrant article. The article did not receive the votes sufficient to pass.
In the summer of 2017, the Selectboard hired a public relations firm to hold community meetings with residents and determine the best way to proceed with the safety facility. Public outreach, and meetings were held and a public survey was conducted. There was a good deal of public interest in the meetings and the tour of the existing building. Most of the public input was in favor of the new fire station, but again there was concern about the cost and the impact on the property taxes.
The consultants presented their findings to the Selectboard, and they recommended that a public bond hearing be held on funding for the construction of a new fire station. If approved at the public hearing, the recommendation will become a warrant article on the March 2018 Town Meeting.
The existing Newbury Fire and Police Station (Safety Service Building) is a wood-framed building approximately 6400 square feet in size. The fire station uses approximately 5000 square feet and the police station uses approximately 1400 square feet. There are multiple areas of concern regarding the existing building including:
1) The size allotted to the fire department is inadequate for today’s needs.
2) The present building is no longer up to current code requirements in the following areas:
a. Structural capacity
b. Electrical systems
c. Heating and ventilating systems
d. Energy conservation requirements
e. Fire and Safety requirements
3) There is inadequate storage space for handling equipment, supplies and apparatus presently used on an ongoing basis.
4) The existing fire department ceiling is too low for the needs of today’s equipment.
5) The existing fire department truck bay doors are too small for the needs of today’s equipment.
6) There are inadequate space/facilities in the fire department to address the cleaning and maintenance of today’s emergency response equipment.
7) There is inadequate turning space for fire department apparatus in front of the bay doors, necessitating maneuvering and backing up on NH Rt. 103 in a potentially dangerous manner.
8) There is inadequate on-site parking. the parking lot, the parcel is fully developed.
Firefighter Health & Safety Considerations
Numerous studies have shown firefighters are at increased risk of many types of cancer. Firefighters are exposed to causes of cancer from the smoke in a burning building to the diesel exhaust from the apparatus. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards specify that fire stations be equipped with equipment that removes the diesel exhaust from a fire station and have procedures for properly cleaning and storing the turnout gear that firefighters wear when fighting a fire.
Although the current station has a filtering system, it does not meet the requirements for exhaust removal. The gear storage racks that are located on the apparatus floor do not only expose the firefighters working there to the smoke from the fires that remain in the clothing, but they also absorb the contaminants from the diesel exhaust. The NFPA standard, specify that the firefighter’s gear is stored in a special storage room, which the station does not have. The standard also indicates that offices, training, meeting and storage rooms are separated from the apparatus bay and gear storage rooms. Because of the lack of space in the existing station this separation cannot be done.
Unfortunately, cancer has impacted members of the Newbury Fire Department. Firefighters are aware of the risks that they face when they respond to a call, but they should not be expected to risk their health and even their lives when they are working in the fire station. This cancer health risk from the hazards that have been identified in the current building emphasizes the need for a new building that will provide for the health and safety of the Newbury firefighters.
New Station Space Needs
This projected space needs assume that the new safety services facilities should address the needs of the Town of Newbury for the next 20 to 30 years. In addition, the space needs served as the basis for the conceptual site layouts for the fire station and the police station that were generated by the committee.
Fire Station Plan
The fire station floor plan is shown in the previous illustration. Area of the structure to be built initially is 8456 square feet with nearly half the area consisting of five bays capable of housing the existing first-line fire vehicles. The bays are sized in accordance with the dimensions of larger trucks now being built by manufacturers to accommodate new vehicles when existing vehicles are replaced in the future.
All functions identified in the 2011 study are provided for in a manner that maximizes utility,
1) The five bay design houses vehicles without “stacking” (i.e. without any vehicle being enclosed behind another vehicle),
2) The gear room is sized to house 42 gear racks and has a flow-through arrangement such that fire fighters can enter the room directly from outside the building, collect their gear, and then proceed to the vehicles;
3) Training /meeting room sized to hold 50 people is adequate for holding inter-town training sessions. Training room is also available to serve as an emergency operations center (EOC) during severe weather and other large disaster emergencies.
Adequate office space for department business and meeting space with parking the public who come to the fire department to obtain permits and do other business
The design separates potentially toxic and non-toxic areas of the building by having
decontamination and similar facilities accessible directly from the bay area. Shower facilities have dual access.
A cistern that would be located underground adjacent to the building and used to support a sprinkler system in accordance with National Fire Protection Association codes.
The design allows for future expansion by positioning of the toilet facilities adjacent to this support area makes it convenient for a portion of the area to be used as a bunk room should the department add full-time fire fighters in the future.
1) Line of sight: Apparatus leaving the station can see and be seen by traffic on Route 103
2) Extended ramp from the road allows apparatus to turn and back into station without blocking the roadway
3) Adequate parking for call firefighters responding to the station and attending training.
Project Bond Financing Impact
The impact of this project starting in 2019 will be 32 cents per thousand of property value. In other words, $32.00 for a $100,000 valued home per year.
This posting is intended to provide information in the history of the Newbury Fire Rescue station project, The conditions and limitations of the current building, Needs of the department and a brief description of the proposed new building.