Plans For Fire Stations Are Unveiled

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, December 16, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Artist's drawings of the proposed addition to Station 2, above,
and a new substation for Hampton Beach.
[Courtesy sketch]

HAMPTON -- The projected cost of a new fire substation at the beach and an administrative wing addition to Station 2 is now estimated at $3.9 million.

Fire Chief Hank Lipe announced the new figure at Monday night's selectmen's meeting.

"It's as low as it can go," said Lipe, who said that is the figure he wants to present to voters in a warrant article in March.

Rich Landry of Landry Architects unveiled sketches for the two projects and a breakdown of the costs to selectmen.

Landry said the total cost for the additions to Station 2 on Winnacunnet Road is $1.7 million.

That figure includes the construction of an additional apparatus bay, a tower which will act as is communications center and administrate headquarters.

The project also entails the construction of crew decontamination space and modifications to the existing building.

The beach substation includes two apparatus bays and crew headquarters/storage and decontamination building.

The total cost for that project is roughly $2 million and includes $50,000 demolition cost if the site is next to current fire station on Ashworth Avenue.

Landry explained that it costs more to construct at the beach because of soil conditions.

Selectman Cliff Pratt suggested the possibility of splitting up the two projects over two years.

"It may cost more money in the long run but it might be more acceptable to voters," said Pratt.

Town Manager James Barrington said the problem is it will end up costing the taxpayers more with rising construction costs, interest and debt.

Selectman Ben Moore suggested that Lipe look at the possibility of moving the old Hampton District Court next to Station 2 to act as its administrative wing.

"I hope that they consider it," said Moore. "If we don't find an adaptive reuse of that building it will eventually just crumble away. I think it's one of the oldest public buildings we have in town, and it would be nice to continue to use it for a public purpose."

Lipe said it would probably cost more to renovate the old building then to build a new structure.

"I also have no clue what it would cost to move the building," Lipe said.

While selectmen have yet to decide on a location for a new beach substation, Lipe reiterated that the best location would be next to the current beach station on Ashworth Avenue.

Precinct commissioners have been pushing for a site on Church Street because they don't want to see the beach lose any parking.

"(The Church Street location) is not my favorite spot because it would increase response time," said Lipe, who added that traffic lights would have to be added to Highland Avenue. "Public safety is my job. I don't want public safety to be jeopardized in lieu of parking spaces. I think if you're trading off for parking spaces it's a bad deal for the customer."

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