New Ipswich Fire Chief Meredith Lund presents list of improvements

  • New Ipswich Fire Chief Meredith Lund discusses fire station and office improvements during the Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday. —STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FONDA

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/16/2022 10:24:20 AM

When Fire Chief Meredith Lund was considering fire station improvements, she started by looking at an office trailer, but only found an 8- by 40-foot structure with two rooms for $39,000, which she said was too small.

“It’s not going to be wide enough to have any kind of meetings in there,” she said.

Town Administrator Debbie Deaton found a refurbished, 20-year-old, 10- by 50-foot trailer for the same $39,000, which Lund said would be better, but still too small.

Therefore, Lund told selectmen Tuesday night that the best approach would be to pursue improvements to the current office, fire station and training room, as the buildings are structurally sound. For less than the cost of a trailer, she guesses that the town could renovate all three buildings or at least get off to a good start, and the current location of the fire station will meet the town's needs until a safety complex could be built in an estimated 10 years.

“Size-wise, we’re pretty good if we can just update what we have down there,” she said.

Lund said most of the work for the office would be cosmetic, including ceiling tiles, painting the walls, carpet or flooring and painting the exterior.

However, she did say that the wiring for the internet in the office is an issue.

“Right now, it’s just a mess of wires behind the administrator’s desk,” she said.

At the station itself, Lund said the rain gutters are the biggest issue, as water runs down and creates ice dams during the winter, and there is a water leak in the back of the station that is causing mold. Other work at the station would include painting and sealing the floor, repairing the ceiling and lights in the gear room, extending the roof across the back wall to make a lean-to for the utility vehicle and trailer and fixing the electricity so everything is not on the same circuit.

Work in the training room also includes a water leak that needs to be found and eliminating mold, along with door frames, classroom stairs at the back entrance, a ramp to the landing between the office and the classroom for Americans With Disabilities Act access, ceiling tiles and electrical for the training projector and laptop.

Lund said most of the requests date back to her first budget in 2017, and she has shared the list with the firefighters.

“This isn’t just my dream,” she said.

Lund’s presentation said the money for the work should come from any excess in the Fire Department budget for 2022, the maintenance budget and the general fund. Board Chair Shawn Talbot said there is some money in the building maintenance fund, along with some American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Selectman Lou Alvarez asked Lund if she could prioritize the work if it needs to be split.

“It can be more dependent on the fire department’s needs and not what would be cheapest,” he said.

Lund said that if she had to prioritize, she would choose the fire station because eliminating the mold and mildew would save damage to vehicles.

Talbot said the board would revisit the matter at its Nov. 29 meeting, after determining costs for the work, and that getting the work done is a top priority.

“We’ve been working hard to take care of all the buildings and departments in town,” he said.


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