Westborough's New Fire House Under Budget After Design

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Architect Brian Humes presented the design of Westborough's new fire house to the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night.
Architect Brian Humes presented the design of Westborough's new fire house to the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night. Photo Credit: Jeff Nowak

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The fire house of Westborough's future has been designed, and architect Brian Humes said the project looks to be under budget after cutting 1,100 square feet. 

"It's been series of items," he said in a presentation to Westborough's Board of Selectmen. "It's been looking in each room, looking at the sizes and asking, 'Can this be reduced?'" 

The fire house, which Town Manager Jim Malloy has said he hopes to have under construction by summer 2013, was approved at the October Town Meeting with a budget of $11.2 million. 

The proposal is for a one-story, 27,300-square-foot building that eliminates "vertical circulation" and is completely handicapped accessible. 

The flat roof that Humes said has been much discussed should be able to withstand any snowfall and has internal drainage, he said.

"If you were to put a pitched roof on this it would be for aesthetic purposes and come at an increased price." Humes said, noting that such a design would be "cost prohibitive." 

The proposed project would completely remove the existing fire house, which would then be turned into additional parking. 

A landscape corner would be added to screen the parking area, and a memorial area would include the piece of the World Trade Center that serves as a town memorial. The building is to be designed to accommodate up to a staff of 50 to account for inflation in the staff. 

Having already been in front of the design review board once, Humes said the proposal will have to be vetted again for approval of building materials before construction can begin. 

"What they saw and the comments we received were all favorable," Humes said. 

The selectmen responded in approval of the plan, but said they want to make sure adequate warranties and protections are in place on all construction and materials, citing the Mill Pond gym floor, which requires a costly renovation after just 10 years due to poor installation. 

"I think we've all learned the lesson," Selectman George Barrette said. "I'm comfortable and confident that the whole roof issue is going to be a non-issue. ... It's going to be a beautiful facility."

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