Warwick Fire Station construction nearing completion

The Warwick Fire Station on Orange Road continues to be under construction.

The Warwick Fire Station on Orange Road continues to be under construction. STAFF FILE PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

By AALIANNA MARIETTA

For the Recorder

Published: 08-18-2023 5:55 PM

WARWICK — Construction continues on the Fire Station on Orange Road, with plumbing, insulation, and energy-efficient electricity and heating on the horizon.

Janice and Steve Kurkoski, who both serve on the Buildings and Energy Committee, updated the Selectboard this week on the construction’s progress. With the outside of the building complete, according to Selectboard member Keith Ross, who relayed the conversation he had with Fire Chief Joe Larson, attention now turns to electricity, heating, plumbing and insulation.

The Kurkoskis recently met with electricians to kickstart the installation of solar panels, as the entire station will be powered by solar electricity. During their talk, Janice Kurkoski said they determined the correct sizes for the main panel and subpanel.

“This will be an all-electric building,” she said.

Janice Kurkoski also shared plans to install a hydronic heat pump, or “air-to-water heat pump,” in the Fire Station’s equipment bay. To fund the heating system, the town applied for a $20,627 Green Communities grant. The Green Communities program supports “opportunities to reduce municipal energy use and costs by way of clean-energy projects in municipal buildings, facilities and schools,” according to mass.gov. She expects to hear whether the town received the grant within the next month.

However, National Grid recently stated it would provide a $16,210 rebate for the heat pump in a recent letter to the Buildings and Energy Committee because the equipment is energy efficient, according to Janice Kurkoski.

“The Green Communities program will only have to kick in the difference,” she said.

Next, Janice Kurkoski said she plans to meet with one or two contractors to get quotes regarding the installation of energy-efficient mini-splits. She described these as “refrigerators in reverse,” with a compressor outside the building delivering heat or cold air into the building using another indoor unit.

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In addition to heating and electricity, contractors plan to install two bathrooms, two sinks and a shower in the addition that was built in 2019, according to Ross. He added that Larson is searching for a plumber to start the project, which involves “not a lot of plumbing and it’s pretty much located in one area.” Warwick’s firefighters currently use the restrooms at the old station across the street on Hastings Pond Road.

“Once the plumbing’s done, once the electric’s done, then it can be insulated and sheetrocked,” Ross said.

To prepare for these final steps, Steve Kurkoski said he is “measuring the Fire Station inside to be able to help calculate the effectiveness of different insulation scenarios” and plans to present his report to the Selectboard in two weeks. By phone on Wednesday, Janice Kurkoski said fiberglass and blow-in cellulose insulation will likely fill the walls and ceilings, respectively.

During Warwick’s Annual Town Meeting in May, Larson reported the Fire Station’s construction was about 75% complete. According to Janice Kurkoski, the contractor leading the project “hopes to have everything done so we can heat the building and have the toilets by the end of the year,” just in time for winter.

Construction on the new Fire Station began in 2015, a project estimated to cost $200,000, Larson explained at Annual Town Meeting.

During the meeting, attendees voted to use $40,000 from the town’s Stabilization Account to finish the construction. Larson said he was 100% certain the station could be finished with the $40,000 in combination with the $30,000 from the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station as part of the Early Site Permit for supporting public safety.