Northfield moves forward with public safety complex contract

  • Northfield Fire Department Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/5/2017 10:12:32 PM

NORTHFIELD — The Emergency Services Facility Committee in Northfield is moving forward in planning for a public safety complex on the Fire Department’s lot, with the Selectboard approving a contract with Cardinal Construction Inc. of Worcester to act as the owner’s project manager.

According to the construction company’s fee proposal, the initial schedule calls for Phase I — involving conceptual site designs, site evaluation and testing, and preparing a project scope and budget — to be finished by October’s end.

This pre-design phase — which also includes fees for Cardinal representatives to attend a special town meeting and regular Emergency Services Facility Committee meetings — will use $19,705 of the total $25,000 the town had appropriated for the committee.

Committee Chairman Floyd “Skip” Dunnell III, who is also fire chief and emergency management director, previously explained a public safety complex would ideally put the Fire Department, Police Department, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and emergency management under one roof, while at the same time solving space and structure problems the departments’ individual buildings face. The committee has been meeting since February to move the project forward.

Should voters approve more money for the project during a special town meeting, which could be in early December, Phase II would commence through March 2018, the fee proposal shows. Phase II would include more site testing through geotechnical borings, coordination with the Planning Board and Conservation Commission, designing a request for qualifications, interviewing and negotiating with potential designers, and further meetings and scheduling. This stage would cost an estimated $43,825, and would produce a preliminary design and cost that could go before annual town meeting.

Is it Northfield’s?

However, because the fire station’s lot lacks a registered deed, the town will also need to have research done regarding how the town acquired the property, the Selectboard agreed during a meeting Tuesday.

“That work is estimated to cost $15,000 at this stage,” Selectboard Chairman Jack Spanbauer said Tuesday.

Selectwoman Tracy Roger wondered what would happen if Northfield found the property isn’t town-owned, given the Selectboard already approved the contract for Cardinal’s services. Spanbauer and Town Administrator Willie Morales agreed that then, the town would most likely claim the property by eminent domain, in which case the research would still prove useful.

“We’ve had the property for hundreds of years,” Spanbauer said.

Reach Shelby Ashline at:

413-772-0261, ext. 257


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