LIVERMORE FALLS — To build a new fire station or renovate the existing one?
That was the question facing the Livermore Falls Board of Selectmen at their meeting on Tuesday. They reached a 4-1 consensus to build a new fire station, with Louise Chabot, James Collins, Mary Young and Jeff Bryant in favor of a new facility and Ron Chadwick favoring renovation.
A special town meeting will be held for voters to approve funding. The total amount has not been set yet, and neither has a date for the special town meeting.
Young and Town Manager Kristal Flagg gave a report from Monday night’s Fire Committee meeting, in which seven committee members wanted a new building and two wanted to renovate the existing structure.
“Obviously, not having insurance as of Oct. 1 is a big burden for the community,” Flagg said, noting that the town’s insurance company wanted fire trucks out of the building as of that date. There have been numerous structural deficiencies identified at the station, and the insurance will expire Oct. 1 unless the building is brought up to code.
James A. Thibodeau, president of Associated Design Partners Inc. in Falmouth, offered three cost estimates conducted by Langford and Low. It would cost $450,000 to repair and upgrade the existing building; $750,000 to replace it with a new, wood-framed building; and $750,000 to replace it with a new, pre-engineered metal building.
Selectmen asked Fire Chief Tim “TD” Hardy about the feasibility of a metal building. He mentioned a facility that he had seen in Levant, a metal-sided, open-floor structure with a steel roof and walls.
“It’s usable space. It’s well-built,” he said.
“If we’re going to build a building, I’d like it to fit in aesthetically with the rest of the town,” Chabot said.
She asked if the Fire Committee had considered space in the building for firefighters to stay overnight if need be. Hardy responded that two showers had been planned, but living quarters hadn’t been discussed yet.
Young noted that living quarters would add a significant amount to the budget. Hardy said that at the Poland Fire Department, living quarters were located off the side of the bays.
He added that the placement of living quarters could depend on where the new building was placed on the existing fire station lot in Livermore Falls.
Chabot asked about the advantages of steel buildings. Hardy responded that they are fairly low maintenance and they can be put up quickly, but they are harder to modify than other types of structures.
Flagg pointed out that the town would have to find a place to put its fire trucks and Fire Department supplies. She said she has been having conversations with Jay to see if they might have space, and Hardy said he was looking at renting a temporary storage unit to put supplies in that didn’t need to be heated.