New fire station nears finish line in Greenfield

The main drive-thru apparatus bay that will house fire trucks.

The main drive-thru apparatus bay that will house fire trucks. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The outbuilding, a separate building that was added with grant money, will house trailers, ATVs, a rescue boat and other equipment.

The outbuilding, a separate building that was added with grant money, will house trailers, ATVs, a rescue boat and other equipment. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The front of the new Greenfield Fire Station.

The front of the new Greenfield Fire Station. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The small museum area that will house the historic pumper and other artifacts.

The small museum area that will house the historic pumper and other artifacts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Day Room with dining area and attached kitchen.

The Day Room with dining area and attached kitchen. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Fire Capt. Peter McIver and Fire Chief Robert Strahan with the air bottle filling machine for Scott Air-Paks.

Fire Capt. Peter McIver and Fire Chief Robert Strahan with the air bottle filling machine for Scott Air-Paks. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Built-in windows and a manhole for simulated rescues in the main apparatus bay.

Built-in windows and a manhole for simulated rescues in the main apparatus bay. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The smaller apparatus bay that will house ambulances and other vehicles.

The smaller apparatus bay that will house ambulances and other vehicles. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 12-25-2023 8:00 AM

Modified: 12-26-2023 1:09 PM


GREENFIELD — Though move-in remains a few months away, the new fire station on Main Street is inching toward completion.

“Now is the part of the project that is the finish work, the detail work,” Fire Chief Robert Strahan said from the station last week.

According to Strahan, construction is expected to wrap up by the end of January, but due to supply chain delays related to the electric work, move-in isn’t expected until March or April 2024.

Though behind schedule, the project remains on track to be completed on budget, according to Project Manager Neil Joyce. As of mid-November, construction was about 72% complete, with approximately 71% of the available budget spent and another $850,000 in contingency funds remaining.

The $21.7 million cost of the project includes $2 million for the temporary station on Hope Street, which firefighters moved into in September 2021 with an expectation of being there for two years. In September 2022, the Fire Station Building Committee’s decision to award the $14.47 million contract for the new building’s construction to D.A. Sullivan & Sons resulted in a budget shortfall for the project of $2.75 million. Previously, $18 million had been budgeted.

To compensate for the $2.75 million shortfall, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner requested that City Council appropriate $1.75 million — a sum composed of bond premium and capital stabilization — and $500,000 in borrowing. Wedegartner also contributed another $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, bringing the city’s contribution in ARPA funds for the fire station to $2 million. Lastly, City Council accepted a $978,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that goes toward the fire station’s construction.

Related to delays in the electrical supplies, Joyce explained to the Fire Station Building Committee last month that the delivery wouldn’t arrive until around March 1, 2024.

“Electrical items, such as main switch gear and emergency generators, are in very short supply and lead times have swelled tremendously over the last 24 months to obtain this equipment,” he said.

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Given the cost of temporary electric installation, which would allow the department to move in sooner, and the potential disruption to the department for switching to the permanent system, the committee voted in favor of waiting until the permanent electrical switchgear arrived. This was decided upon after weighing the monthly cost of extending the city’s stay at the temporary station on Hope Street (about $31,000 per month) and the cost of installing the temporary system.

“From an economic standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to incur that cost at this point and time,” Joyce said.

In a recent tour of the building, Strahan highlighted the design’s emphasis on firefighter safety, including a designated transition/decontamination area, a vehicle exhaust extraction system, and built-in windows and a manhole for simulated rescues.

“Previously, we never had a safe means to practice rescuing someone from a window,” Fire Capt. Peter McIver said. “It really integrates a lot of safe working environments.”

The apparatus bay will offer “significantly more clearance” around the engines for cleaning and service work, Strahan added.

In addition to a dining area, exercise room, a “bullpen” for reports and a dorm quarter, the building will also house the Emergency Operations Center. The small museum at the front of the station, for which the department is working with a curator, likely won’t be ready until June or July.

Elements of the building itself will offer a nod to the old station, said Strahan, with a refurbished window from the old building above the public entrance, the firefighters’ pole located in the apparatus area, and keystones from the former building built into the structure. The address, too, is a nod to the old building, formerly at 412 Main St. before it was demolished. The current building will have an address of 41 Main St.

“It’s been a lot of work, but we’re looking forward to it,” Strahan said. “The firehouse is beautiful, and it’s going to be something the city and the residents can be proud of.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter (X): @MaryEByrne.