Building committee amends new Greenfield fire station budget

  • The empty lot that will be the site of the new Greenfield Fire Station on Main Street at Coombs Avenue. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The empty lot that will be the site of the new Greenfield Fire Station on Main Street at Coombs Avenue. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2022 5:05:35 PM

GREENFIELD — After a review of the latest cost estimate for the new fire station, the Fire Station Building Committee voted to transfer the $615,000 allocated for furniture, fixtures and other expenses into the construction budget, which now totals $12.1 million.

The transfer was approved to allow one previously defined “alternate” — epoxy flooring — to be included in the overall construction budget, up from $10.1 million, for the architects to incorporate into a design before going out to bid.

The overall $17 million budget for the fire station, slated to be built on Main Street near Coombs Avenue, includes $2 million for the construction of the temporary fire station on Hope Street, in addition to construction for the new station, professional fees and contingency funds. The temporary fire station, which the department moved into in September, is expected to be used for two years.

“We are just over $1 million lower than where we were a few weeks ago, without sacrificing major features and components of the building. … We’ve really clamped down on everything we can think of currently,” said Katrina N. Pacheco with Pacheco Ross Architects, reviewing the design and latest $12,009,358 cost estimate with members of the Fire Station Building Committee Thursday evening. “We still have more ideas, but some of those further ideas do involve more investigations.”

Pacheco said the cost estimate presented this week did not include several alternates totaling $683,152.

She explained that some of the changes made to the design, for cost-saving purposes, included dropping the wall heights “significantly,” moving the radio room into the bay spaces, and pulling the kitchen into where the conference room had been. The outdoor patio was also removed, and a design for the memorial space was not included in the estimate.

“We also were able to take the height across the building and work better with the grading, so there’s only one ramp in the building,” Pacheco said.

Fire Chief Robert Strahan agreed with Pacheco that the design presented was a “baseline” fire station. In addition to the main budget, five alternates were included as part of the package.

With respect to those alternates, Strahan said epoxy flooring was his top priority.

“It provides more of a non-slip surface,” he said. “And a wet apparatus floor gets slippery.”

Precinct 1 Councilor Ed Jarvis, who is a member of the committee, attested to the necessity of the epoxy flooring.

“My right knee can justify and speak to that, because I blew my right knee out getting off a wet firetruck on a cement floor,” said Jarvis, who was a Greenfield firefighter for 30 years including the department’s deputy fire chief. “From a safety standpoint … I think the epoxy floor is a smart thing to be added to the cost of the budget. … It’s a no-brainer to me.”

Metal roofing, as opposed to asphalt shingles, Strahan added, would likely be his other priority, in part because of its durability. Mayor Roxann Wedegartner made a motion to include both of the chief’s priorities into the main budget.

The addition of the epoxy flooring and metal roofing would leave the committee about $1.7 million short (with contingency factored in), according to project manager Neil Joyce. Without them, the committee would be about $1.5 million short, he said.

Strahan said he didn’t want the designers to have to change other aspects of the design for the sake of accommodating the two alternates. Instead, he offered a friendly amendment to only add the epoxy flooring; Wedegartner accepted.

Fire Station Building Committee member David Moscaritolo, however, was initially unwilling to accept the amendment.

“Both of them are important,” he said. “If I was forced to pick one, I’d pick the epoxy, but I think they’re both a priority.”

The committee unanimously supported the decision to add the epoxy, at which point Moscaritolo presented a new motion to add metal roofing into the main construction budget. That motion, however, was withdrawn.

“This isn’t a game breaker for me,” he said. “I just think it’s a considerable factor and we should consider the investment.”

On the topic of financing, Wedegartner noted she had already committed $1 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), bringing the city’s total pool of money for the project up to $11.1 million in funds for construction. Fire Station Building Committee member David Singer added that Joyce had moved $400,000 from elsewhere in the budget into construction.

Joyce said the committee could choose to direct the $615,000 that had been set aside for furniture, fixtures and other expenses (FFE) into the construction budget.

“That would put us where we need to be overall for the budget,” he said.

FFE includes items such as furniture and loose equipment, kitchen equipment, the self-contained breathing apparatus machine, radio tower and communication equipment, as well as various technology.

Strahan told the committee it would be a concern to him if the financing for those items couldn’t be restored.

“We are actively pursuing grants,” he said. “One grant we’re pursuing right now is the air filling station. … We’re hoping to offset some of those costs.

“I’ve made a commitment that every grant we apply for within the next couple years … is going to be used to try to capture some of these items,” Strahan continued. “But we’re still going to need help down the road.”

Ultimately, the committee voted unanimously to transfer the funds, after which members authorized $12.1 million for constructing the new fire station.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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