The questions that appear below are ones that the Committee frequently receives. This page will be updated on a regular basis as we near the Special Town Meeting on March 8, 2017.
Date Last Updated: February 17, 2017
Why do we need a Public Safety Facility?
The current Police and Fire Stations do not meet the modern day needs of a Police or Fire department.The Police Station was originally an elementary school in the 1920’s and only received minor updates when the Police Department moved in back in the 1970’s.The Fire Station is approaching 40 years old. Each building has its share of antiquated systems, structural issues, and inefficient use of space.The cost to continue to repair these buildings is not fiscally responsible. Both the Police and Fire Departments welcome you to call ahead to schedule a tour of the existing conditions if you are unable to make any of the public Open Houses.
The most cost effective solution for the Town of Southborough is to build a new facility housing both of these departments. With shared space, it will reduce the footprint of the combined departments. The building will meet the current needs of the department with just enough room for future growth so that this is a facility that serves the town well into the future.
Why does the Town of Southborough need a new police station?
The Police Station was originally an elementary school in the 1920’s and only received minor updates when the Police Department moved in back in the 1970’s.The Town has NEVER built a police station in its 300 year history.While the current police station has held up well structurally given its age, it does not come close to meeting the standards required for the current police force, not to mention the needs of the future. A new facility will be built in a way to maximize the efficiency of each space and provide a safe and secure environment for our police officers to work in.
The link here provided detailed pictures of the current conditions in Southborough as compared to the proposed conditions (taken from a recently constructed police station in Weston):
Why does the Town of Southborough need a new fire station?
The Fire Station is approaching 40 years old. It was constructed in a time when the Town operated two stations so there was apparatus spread amongst two stations and serviced half the calls that it does today.The Town only operates one station at this point and has made significant efforts to maximize the use of each vehicle in its fleet in order to reduce the total number of vehicles in service.Unfortunately, the current conditions already require multiple vehicles to be housed outside.As fire truck designs continue to change, it makes it harder to keep fit these vehicles in the same station.Furthermore, vehicles are “stacked,” such that in certain emergencies, one vehicle needs to be moved to access another vehicle causing a precious loss of time when it matters most. Due to the crammed nature of the apparatus bays, safety is also a concern due to crammed conditions where firefighters are donning their protective equipment for calls.A new facility will provide the required space needs for the fire apparatus, but also bring the living quarters up to the modern day needs providing the appropriate facilities for females.
The link here provided detailed pictures of the current conditions in Southborough as compared to the proposed conditions (taken from a recently constructed fire station in Holden):
Why can’t we just renovate the existing facilities?
A significant amount of time was spent by the Public Safety Study Committee (“Committee”) examining the feasibility of renovating the existing facilities to meet the current space needs.Specific to the Police Department, the Committee was advised by 4 different architects that it was not practical to renovate the existing facility.Specific to the Fire Department, any renovation would trigger certain building code requirements bringing the cost of any renovation approximately equal to the cost of new construction.
Ultimately, it was determined that due to the age of these structures and the requirements to bring them up to building code, the cost would be almost the same as if a new facility were to be constructed.A renovation would also come well short of meeting the required space needs without further land acquisition.In addition, there was no way to renovate the existing facilities without displacing the Fire Department for over a year, creating significant cost and operational issues.
How does the proposed Public Safety Facility benefit the taxpayers?
The proposed facility will take the Public Safety officials out of inefficient and dilapidated facilities and put them into a safe and modern facility, so that they are in the best position to respond when we need them the most. A combined facility is the most cost effective way to provide these services to the taxpayers both in terms of the initial construction costs, but also the maintenance costs going forward.The facility will be designed in a way to give the public more access and will also enhance response times to most areas in town due to the proposed facilities’ quicker access to the Route 85/Route 9 interchange. Finally, as the Town’s debt burden is scheduled to come down significantly in the next few years, this is a critical time period to minimize the impact of this new project on Taxpayers.