Londonderry Fire Department seeks station expansionBy CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent
December 21. 2017 12:03AM
LONDONDERRY — Fire Chief Darren O'Brien remembers how his father, who also served on the Londonderry Fire Department, was able to cement his legacy with his work in constructing the central station.
Now, O’Brien looks to make his own lasting mark on that same station, as the department is seeking a $4.9 million bond to construct two expansive wings to its headquarters on Mammoth Road.
“I think people are going to see, when this is all said and done, that you will see a building there at the central fire station location that this town will be very proud of and it will meet the needs of this community for many years to come,” O’Brien said during a public hearing Monday in the Moose Hill Conference Room in the town offices. “For me now going forward with a new proposal, it’s something I want to be proud of and present to this town.”
Fire officials participated in a feasibility study with civil engineers and architects and found the current site is conducive to an expansion, although the chief said residents spoke during a prior meeting about other possible locations for a new station.
The existing facility is roughly 84,000 square feet. The additions would increase the total size by roughly 21,000 square feet. It is designed to have vacant bunk rooms and office space with the expected growth in town over the coming decades.
The apparatus bays will remain as is and raised, and the current living space will become additional apparatus bays for department vehicles. A one-story addition is planned for the north side of the building that will house administrative offices, the dispatch center and community training room while a southerly two-story add-on will become the new living quarters.
While the money proposed during the public hearing was $4.9 million for the project, O’Brien said that figure has increased to about $6.9 million and the department hopes to knock it down to at least $6.4 million.
The chief said the proposed building costs jumped roughly $100 per square foot to $350, but he acknowledged that is on the high side. Costs also jumped on the site work because of the nearby wetlands by an estimated $325,000 to create a new fire pond in the rear of the property.
The department hopes to slash the price tag with grants and state funding, as well as reductions in the architectural fees.
“Good luck with that,” said Ted Combes, a town councilor skeptical about the higher price.
“If I can come back to you at the end of this project and say here’s a building to be proud of but here’s $200-, $300-, $400,000 back that wasn’t spent, that’s a good day,” O’Brien said.