The town took another step toward the completion of a fire station at 864 N. Farms Rd. with the announcement last week that Hamden architectural firm Silver, Petrucelli and Associates will design the station and manage its construction.
At the town council meeting where the selection was announced, the council approved the transfer of $252,564 of Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority distribution funds to the station's architectural design fund. It also approved the transfer of $80,000 to the fund from monies that remained from demolition at the North Farm Road's site.
"We started the project about 10 years ago," said Deputy Fire Chief Richard W. Heidgerd, who is co-managing the project with Henry McCully, director of public works. The property, which consists of roughly 10 acres, sits a short distance from the fire station at 636 Barnes Road that it will replace.
Heidgerd said one of the hardships all along has been locating an appropriate site, terming the location "critical."
"The volunteers that live in the community have to live in the area," he said.
Heidgerd said, "We couldn't go too far to the east and west of its present location," acknowledging the station's proximity to I-91.
Still, he finds the site "perfect." He said it satisfies the project's need to deliver a faster response time, and that it will allow for a far larger structure. The project, for which the town has earmarked $5 million, calls for a station with a size around 12,000 sq. ft. — one that both volunteer and career firefighters will man.
It also offers the option to house an ambulance and a full EMS staff for the increased number of medical calls the town receives. The deputy fire chief said that, at present, only the fire department's headquarters has two transporting ambulances, one of which the department may transfer to the new location for better coverage of the town.
From the architectural firm, the town is looking for design efficiency, especially in the area of energy consumption. Toward that end, Silver, Petrucelli will research geothermal heat and also solar energy as part of a design whose style, according to Heidgerd, will blend in with the neighborhood. Both the design and bidding will take six months, he said, with construction expected to take one year.
The fire station will have a design longevity of 30 to 50 years. The present fire station dates back to 1946.
"Members of the volunteer station have been very patient," said Heidgerd, thinking of the cramped quarters on Barnes Road. The new station "will help us deliver our services. That's the exciting part."
"They've done work in our town before. They have a vast amount of experience doing emergency facilities," Heidgerd said of Silver, Petrucelli. He said the Hamden firm completed the feasibility study for the fire station and also a roof project for the Board of Education.
"We don't have to pay for a learning curve," the deputy fire chief said.