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Selectmen get first look at conceptual plans for public safety building


August 08, 2018
WOLFEBORO — With the Wolfeboro Public Library renovation and expansion plan in motion to possibly break ground in late September, the next anticipated project moving into line is the renovation and expansion of the Public Safety Building.

The Board of Selectmen listened to a presentation from Lavallee Brensinger Architects, highlighted by Police Chief Dean Rondeau and Fire and Rescue Chief James Pineo, at the July 25 meeting, immediately following the library update. The new and improved library is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2019. The Public Safety Building Committee anticipates project completion in 2022.

The feasibility study began with an analysis of the current building, its space needs and the existing site with an eye toward a long term solution, that is, a facility that can serve the community for up to 50 years, according to architect Robert Robicsek, and keep the departments together on the existing site.

Rondeau told the board that the town has "got its money's worth" from the building, completed in 1972. He said it is now obsolete and out of code and the departments have "outgrown" it. He also pointed out that there are two and a half departments operating from the current building: Police; Fire and Rescue; and the 24 hour Dispatch Center.

He elaborated on the need for having a holding facility for prisoners, explaining that officers presently have to bring combative prisoners to the County Jail in Ossipee, which takes an officer out of town, thereby reducing coverage. As it is, a prisoner who might wander out of a room while an arrest is being processed has access to other rooms, which is a threat to personnel. In addition, juveniles cannot be held in the present space.

Evidence storage needs improvement, too, said Rondeau, citing a case involving vehicle storage that was threatened by the charge that the vehicle was stored improperly. The new plan would provide better protection.

Pineo spoke of current challenges as well. He said the apparatus bay doesn't have the height needed to work on the apparatus and pointed out that the new design would allow for personnel returning from a scene with contaminated clothing to set it aside for cleaning and decontaminate themselves before rejoining the other firemen in the living quarters. Presently, they have to cross through the quarters.

A larger bay would also allow space to work on plans for emergency preparedness and management or disaster management functions.

Selectman Dave Senecal, a member of the building committee, said that the option selected from among the three developed, would use the lot efficiently and the departments could remain operational throughout the project.

Robicsek posited that the present building is effectively 140 years old because it is used nonstop. It does not have a sprinkler system or a code compliant emergency lighting system, and the sally port is uninsulated. Other deficiencies are uninsulated plumbing pipes, non-ADA compliant fixtures, outdated electric panel boards without separate services into the building, and inadequate overall capacity of service. On the plus side in planning for a new building, the site itself is flat, located on a main road and has no water issues. He offered a preliminary cost estimate of $300 a square foot.

The plan shows that current estimated space needs, expected to increase just slightly by 2032, come to a total of 29, 069. That breaks down to 8,384 for the police department; 15,574 for the fire and rescue department; and 2,342 for facility support. 18 parking spaces would be provided for staff, 7 for department vehicles, for a total of 34. That does not include parking for off-duty and part time personnel for fire calls.

Plans provided the board show the hard and soft costs of the preliminary design, before any modifications are made, to come to $11,899,198. If history is a guide, that figure will likely come down in the decision making process.

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