Wilton firehouse addition hits a snag
WILTON — Despite some initial hiccups in the sitework portion of the project, construction of the addition to the Wilton Fire Department is moving along and is expected to be completed by the end of January.
In March, voters approved $1.7 million for an addition and renovations at the fire station in a 176-53 ballot vote. Of that $1.7 million, $935,000 will be paid for by bond, with $763,950 coming from the town’s capital reserve funds. The money will pay for renovations of the existing Wilton Fire Department, including removal of hazardous materials such as asbestos, and updating the drainage system and addressing some long-standing safety concerns. It will also pay for an extensive addition to the firehouse, which will add a fire truck bay, kitchen, and will create a new entrance and lobby space, office space and training room, as well as a handicap-accessible bathroom.
Hutter Construction of New Ipswich began construction of the new addition on June 20. It hasn’t always been a smooth process, said Fire Chief Ray Dick in an interview Thursday. For example, according to Select Board Chair Dan Donovan , at the end of the construction site nearest to the existing fire station, construction crews ran into rubble that prevented shoring beams from being driven into the ground. That meant things had to be reconfigured from an engineering perspective, which has set the work back approximately three and a half weeks, and increased the estimated cost of the project by $21,000, which is within the contingency built into the cost.
“We’re still well within budget,” said Donovan. He added that the town is looking at various other possible cost savings, including using a two-inch pipe for a gas line instead of three-inch or reducing the size of the generator, which may make up the difference.
“There’s been some high points and low points and stuff in between. We hit a couple of hurdles, due to the way the site is situated, but we’re over those hurdles now,” said Dick. “When you’re digging in the dirt, you don’t know what you’re going to find. Once we get into the construction, we have a much better idea of what everything should cost.”
The building should be enclosed by the end of November, according Donovan. At the same time as the construction has been going on outside, the indoor renovations are ongoing, he said.
Construction crews are currently building a back wall to the addition, and are hoping to pour the concrete foundation this week, said Dick. The plan is still to be able to finish the construction and renovation by the end of January, he said, although there may be minor pieces that will have to wait for spring. Paving and landscaping, specifically, he said. Donovan noted landscaping and paving were always anticipated to be finished in the spring.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.