Fire Station Building Committee

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History
The North (#2) Fire Station is the primary station serving northwestern Hingham. This territory includes the newly redeveloped shipyard, the commuter boat terminal, Hingham Square, portions of several historic districts, and an 800-foot railroad tunnel. This station handled over 1,773 calls in 2014.

The 2012 Annual Town Meeting appropriated $25,000 for a feasibility study of possible renovations to the North and South Fire Stations. (The Central Fire Station had been upgraded in 2007-08.) In 2013, the Board of Selectmen created the Fire Department Assets Review Committee ("Asset Review Committee") to evaluate the condition and adequacy of the current fire stations and the need for future stations.

The Asset Review Committee has concluded that the North Station is ideally located to respond promptly to the territory it serves. The physical station, however, has seen only minimal upgrades since it opened in 1942, and it needs to be modified to meet current building code standards. It still uses original plumbing, boilers, and electrical systems, and it lacks a sprinkler system. Moreover, the station has strained to accommodate the expanding scope of the Fire Department's mission. It lacks storage for firefighters' turnout gear, fitness equipment, and other fire equipment. It also lacks the appropriate storage, decontamination, and other facilities for medical equipment and supplies. The staff of the North Station has temporarily overcome these deficiencies by creatively utilizing spaces beyond their original purpose (e.g., closets, a former "shop" room, the garage floor adjacent to the firefighting apparatus), but these spaces are no longer adequate.

The feasibility study, conducted by Dore & Whittier Architects, confirms that the needed renovations will require an expansion of the existing station's footprint.

The 2015 Annual Town Meeting, Article 14, requested appropriation of $500,000 to pay for architectural, engineering, and other services related to site design through the issuance of bid documents for construction with the understanding that if the sum was appropriated, an additional request for construction funds is likely to be submitted to the 2016 Annual Town Meeting for consideration.

The renovation of the existing North Station represents the first part of a three-part modernization of Fire Department service recommended by the Asset Review Committee. The second and third parts (construction of a new station in the vicinity of Cushing, Whiting, and Derby streets, followed by renovation of the existing South Station) both relate to the level of Fire Department service in the southern portion of Hingham and thus are interdependent. The need for renovation of the North Station will not be affected by the potential construction of a new station or renovation of the South Station because the North Station serves a distinct territory.

As prescribed by vote of 2015 Annual Town Meeting that the Town: (1) establish a Fire Station Building Committee consisting of seven members, as follows: three citizens of the Town appointed by the Board of Selectmen; three citizens of the Town appointed by the Moderator; and the Fire Chief or, if the Fire Chief so designates, the Deputy Fire Chief; with the chair of said committee to be elected from among its members; and (2) appropriate $500,000 to be expended under the direction of the Fire Station Building Committee for design costs, including architectural and engineering services, as well as other professional fees, for the renovation of the North Fire Station. To meet said appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow said sum under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 7(21), or any other enabling authority and to issue bonds or notes of the Town therefor.