Fire Station 2 building height under study again

New information has come out that shows fire engines can be custom ordered to fit into Fire Station 2, rather than raising the height of the roof by several feet, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice told the Board of Selectmen at its meeting on Aug. 20.

This raises the question of whether the general requirement to increase the height of the main bay doors as part of the Fire Station 2 renovation plan is still appropriate.

The selectmen reached a consensus to have the issue studied. Also, Chris Burney, director of facilities and public works, said he believes the existing building has space at the top to extend the door height by two or three inches.

The discovery about custom ordering fire trucks to fit the building comes at a time when it could be a money saver, because the town has many infrastructure projects to consider, including the town hall campus, the town hall annex and the police station.

One possible drawback to custom ordering the truck to fit the building, rather than building a structure that will accomodate most fire trucks, is that some of the fire truck manufacturers may not be able to accommodate the specifications and will not participate in the bidding process, fire officials warned.

The hope is to have a solid plan to present to voters for funding approval next May.

So far, there have been four building alternatives from Rob Sanders Architects LLC:

  • $1.4 million for a 4,362-square-foot, two-story building.

  • $1.3 million for a 3,635-square-foot, single-story building.

  • $1.2 million for a 3,223-square-foot, single-story building with no addition. That is the current size.

  • $1.1 million for a 3,223-square-foot project that renovates the apparatus bay only.

The building committee was working off a $1 million project budget estimate that was made in 2011. Costs of building projects have increased in seven years.

At a meeting on Feb. 1, minutes show Chairman Rich McCarty reported the existing Fire Station 2 building and systems are at the end of their useful life, and if the condition of the facility is not addressed at this point it could result in a catastrophic failure of the building systems, necessitating a shutdown of the building and a reduction in fire and emergency services coverage for a significant area of Wilton.

Wilton voters in 2015 approved a $90,000 bond authorization to complete architectural and engineering schematics for the renovation.