Boardman Trustees heard a presentation from Richard Pontius, of RP Architects, on Monday night, detailing a proposal to build a new main fire station at Southern Blvd. and Rt. 224.
The site is one of four locations the township has considered for a new fire station and the proposal heard on Monday night includes plans to utilize the former township road department building that sits adjacent to the main fire station. The old Road Department building has been vacant for nearly two decades.
Trustee Thomas Costello stressed the township is currently studying its options and stressed current cost of construction of a new fire station could be prohibitive, unless state or federal funding could be found to help defray costs of construction.
The current main fire station was built during the depression using fund from the Works Projects Administration. It was remodeled more than four decades ago under trustees William Houser and Robert Bannon and despite the remodeling work, the building’s roof has been problematic at best, often leaking during rainstorms.
At one point, when Curt Seditz was township administrator, the fire department’s union forced testing of air samples in the building, fearing mold that grew in the basement of the structure could cause health problems.
Air samples that were tested at a cost of some $30,000 largely refused that claim.
Meeting on Monday night, Pontius presented a proposal for a three-story new main fire station that could be constructed at a cost of an estimated $3 million.
Mr. Costello and fellow Trustees Brad Calhoun and Larry Moliterno all agree funds are not available to build such a structure.
Last week, members of the township administration met with Rep. Tim Ryan in an effort to determine if any federal funds might be available to help defray costs of construction.
The plans outlined by Pontius included utilizing the old Road Department headquarters as a part of a new main fire station. The old BRD building could be remodeled to house equipment and trucks, Pontius said.
As outlined by Pontius, a new fire department building would provide limited public access and would house administrative offices, the Fire Prevention Office, records storage, a conference room and sleeping quarters.
Its first floor would also include living areas, a day room, kitchen, apparatus bays, laundry room and EMA storage.
“If you go to the main fire station now, you will find stuff all over the floor because of lack of storage space,” Pontius said.
A new main fire station could take upwards of two years to build, Pontius indicated, in part because the current building would have to be used to maintain services during the construction period.
Township Administrator Jason Loree expressed concern over the $3 million cost of construction.
Fire Chief George Brown indicated the $3 million was considerably less than estimates of between $6 million and $4.5 million that had originally been given to township officials.
In addition to the cost of construction, Pontius indicated furnishing a new main fire station could cost upwards of $350,000.
Chief Brown, noting RA Architects has spent six months preparing a proposal for a new main station, said the presentation on Monday night was the result of very diligent work that gives Boardman Township as lot of choices.
Trustee Costello said preliminary stages of studying possible construction of a new main fire station has included four possible sites.
They are the current located (combined with the old road department building), a site at the Southern Park Mall, another on Boardman Local School property (in front of the football stadium on Market St. and the site of the former Stadium Lincoln-Mercury car dealership at Southern Blvd. and Rt. 224.
“Of all the sites considered, we believe utilizing the current main fire station site and the old road department building provides us with the most economical, cost-efficient options,” Costello said.