FIRE AND SAFETY BUILDING COMMITTEE member Vice Chairman Gordon Hunt, Chairman Jim Allan, members Dick Cary and Bob McWhirter, and Fire and Rescue Chief Adam Thompson offered information on the fire/safety building proposal on the Tuftonboro Town Warrant in the Old Town House on Feb. 14. (Missing from photo is Tyler Phillips.) (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
February 23, 2012TUFTONBORO — It's no secret that Tuftonboro's fire rescue facilities are not up to par. This year's proposal for a fire and rescue building is the fifth attempt at resolving the matter, but Jim Allan, chairman of this year's Fire and Safety Building Committee, told the audience gathered at the committee's second informational session on Feb. 14, "It's time to bring Tuftonboro's fire and safety infrastructure into the 21st century."
He told those assembled that the committee started from scratch to first establish the need. It then proceeded, through its own research and site visits, to come up with a design for a standalone fire station, a modification based on drawings for last year's proposal.
The committee determined that a centrally-located, modern facility on the Gould property would provide enhanced response time to the area most in need: 50 percent of calls come within a radius of that location.
The facility would also meet today's standards, thus reducing liability and the potential for workplace accidents, and allow firemen to decontaminate at the station and hold training sessions on site. Allan said that the committee found the idea that firemen would return from a fire and have to refit the apparatus outside in freezing weather unacceptable.
Committee member Dick Cary, a consulting architect, said that the committee decided to stay with the "same team" (architect Gary Goudreau and construction manager Andre Kloetz of Bauen Corp), pointing out that there was no budget for further design services.
Allan pointed out that modifications can be made to the plan once voters give the go ahead, but not before. That opens the matter for suggestions from contractors. The plan is not carved in stone; however, the project must be kept to the projected $1.8 million. The remaining design, construction documentation and fees and furniture will amount to $291,000, bringing the total to $2.1 million.
Financing rates are better than they'll ever be, said Allan. If voters reject this proposal, the project will end up costing more in the future.
Audience members responded with thoughtful suggestions on the plan to use a combination of radiant and baseboard heating. Tim Brown, who installs radiant heating systems, said he has some concerns about the plan to use radiant heating in only part of the building in combination with baseboard heating, for radiant heating is more energy efficient (water only has to be heated to 80 – 90 degrees in comparison to the 180 degree temperature required by base board heating). He suggested that a conduit be placed from the mechanical room to south side of the building to be available for the future as energy costs continue to rise.
Cary expressed interest in Brown's suggestion and explained the thinking on having baseboard heating around the periphery of the building where he said most heat leaves a building, and Allan, a certified building inspector, said the liked the idea of providing for future options.
Bob Wood, a member of the first of the five committees, said he thinks the savings in insurance gained by lowering response time in the Center Tuftonboro call area needs to be emphasized. He also said that in his experience as a businessman, labor costs are the most significant expense. In light of that, he praised Chief Adam Thompson's ability to recruit and retain a well-trained core of volunteer firemen.
In his opinion, the safe and accommodating workplace the new building would offer is a powerful incentive and a sign of respect to the 24 volunteers who risk their lives for very little compensation. There are many hours of training and firemen are only paid for the time they are responding to an emergency and receive no pension or health care.
A meeting for contractors was scheduled to take place on Feb. 21. Nate Weeks asked how they can bid if the design is not yet specific. Committee member Bob McWhirter answered that the purpose is to provide information on the bidding process.
Discussion at the meeting was open and informative from committee to audience and from audience to committee. Allan and his committee members (Bill Stockman, representing the Board of Selectmen, Vice-Chairman Gordon Hunt, McWhirter, Cary, Budget Committee rep Tyler Phillips, and Chief Thompson welcome questions. Contact information is on the Tuftonboro Web site, www.tuftonboro.org.