November 14 2017

Fire Station 2 Approved for Demolition

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Fire Department’s Fire Station 2 will soon be coming down to get the site prepared for a new building.


On Monday night the Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 to allow the town to accept bids to demolish the existing fire station on Terrace Hall Avenue. Work could begin within the next couple of weeks.


In May of 2016 Town Meeting voted to bond $8,500,000 for a new fire station on Terrace Hall Avenue to replace the old and inadequate facility currently there. During the September 2017 Town Meeting the body voted to add an additional $225,000 to the total to cover expenses unforeseen in the original plan.


While the current station is being torn down and the town is waiting for bids to build the new one the Fire Department is setting up a temporary location at the former Clark & Reid site.


“It’s ready to go,” Chief Steven Yetman told the board about the interim site. “We have created a temporary station at the Clark & Reid site and will use the former building and put in trailers for quarters in the front.”


Town Administrator John Petrin said the next step is to collect bids for the new fire station. The deadline for preliminary bids is December 21st.


There were some concerns raised about demolishing the old building before having acceptable bids on the new one. What if, for instance, the bids came in over budget? Petrin said there was some risk of that but that demolishing the building now would also help move the project along and let them know if there are unforeseen problems with the location.


“We’ll get a better sense of possible other problems with that site,” he said. “As you start doing work you can find surprises.”


Petrin added that if the bids come in over budget they will deal with that when the time comes.


“I hope the bids will be within budget but if not we’ll have to come back to Town Meeting or re-engineer the project to be within spec,” he said. “We’ve put in a lot of work already.”


He also said that current estimates show the project coming in within budget.


Members of the Board of Selectmen said they felt that moving along with the demolition now, which could save the town money in the long run, was worth the risk of the bid process being an issue later.  

“I understand the risks of taking down the building before approving a bid but I’m in favor of taking that risk,” Selectman Mike Runyan said. “The sooner we can get going the better.”


“It sounds like it is a state of self-demolition anyway,” Selectman Jim Tigges joked about the old building.


The new station will have three bays with room to house up to five or six apparatus, depending on the size. Perhaps most importantly it will be big enough to hold the department’s tower vehicle, which is needed much more on that side of town than the more residential area of the Fire Department’s headquarters where it is currently kept. The station will also be able to house up to eight firefighters rather than the three the current building was designed for.


During the May, 2016 meeting, Yetman said this is a critical project for his department. The growth on that side of Burlington has far outpaced the capabilities of the station built in 1971. For one thing, he said that along with the tower the new station would have room for a dedicated ambulance, another piece of equipment needed at that location.


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