Peterborough Fire Station project progresses

The Peterborough Town House

The Peterborough Town House FILE PHOTO

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 12-06-2023 11:44 AM

Peterborough Assistant Town Administrator Seth MacLean reported at Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting that the design for  Peterborough’s new fire and ambulance station on Elm Street is progressing on time and on budget.

“We are hoping that in the end, we can say have put together something that really resonates with the community,” MacLean said. “We are 60% there on the design plan.” 

In November, the design plans, created by SMP Architects,  were presented to Capital Improvement Committee and Conservation Committee. 

“The review by the ConComm was very important because there is a wetland buffer at this site,” MacLean said.

The conceptual design includes reuse of the existing “Motorpool” building at the back of the site, which enabled the design team to reduce the size of the new building and cut costs. The updated site plan includes safety modifications for pedestrians and motorists, slight changes to the entrance of the building, some downsizing on rooms and an updated energy model. 

“The Peterborough Community Center is used heavily, and we wanted to include some of the safety enhancements based on feedback,” MacLean said. 

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The working design plan is 30% smaller than the original concept design shown prior to Town Meeting 2022, when Peterborough voters approved the design for the new fire and ambulance complex with a $12.1 million cap on costs. The design plan incorporates sustainability considerations, which are a high priority for the project. MacLean said the design plan includes “enough solar panels to provide enough energy to meet the needs of the facility.”

“The new building has the opportunity to eventually function as a net-zero building. The design will accommodate (solar panels), but it will depend on where the budget comes in,” MacLean said. “If we are not able to meet that goal of net-zero in this round, the potential will be there for us to meet that goal further down the road.” 

The geotechnical engineering survey completed in November determined  that the new building site is appropriate for a conventional shallow footing foundation, which represents a significant cost savings as compared to the costs of a deeper foundation.  SMP Architects are submitting updates to the mechanical systems, fire protection and structural engineering to Harvey Construction this week.

MacLean noted that after receiving feedback from members of the public and tenants of the Peterborough Community Center, the architects modified the design of the driveway in order to “reflect the concerns of the stakeholders of the facility.” The one-way driveway will continue allow access to the front door of the community center. 

“I would like acknowledge Southern New Hampshire Services and the staff and the patrons at the Peterborough Food Pantry for their helping us craft a site plan for this project which makes sense going forward.  We really want to thank all these people for taking the time to give us input,” MacLean said. 

MacLean also thanked the Peterborough Energy Committee for its help in the process for far. 

MacLean said Harvey Construction plans to deliver a reliable cost estimate for the project on or before Jan. 4, 2024. After receiving  and considering the estimate for the project, the Building Committee will vote in early January on whether to advance the project through the town’s 2024 budget process. If the project advances, the Budget Committee and the Peterborough Select Board plan to host a public meeting on Jan. 30 to review and discuss the project budget with the public. The location of the meeting is to be determined depending on expected attendance. 

Information about the fire station project is available on the Town of Peterborough website at peterboroughnh.gov