Report recommends replacing old building
One trustee believes it may be possible to build a new station at a lower cost.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The township should spend an estimated $4.1 million to replace its main fire station, because even with renovations the current station won't meet the fire department's needs for the next 20 years. That's the recommendation of MS Consultants of Youngstown, which the township hired to analyze the station on U.S. Route 224 to determine whether the 1926 building should be renovated or rebuilt.
Fire Chief James Dorman said he expected the report to recommend rebuilding rather than renovating because of the age of the station and its deteriorated infrastructure.
"Now it's up to the trustees to look at all of the factors -- budget being the main one -- and determine what they want to do," he said.
Trustee Thomas Costello agreed that a new station is needed, but said the suggested cost is too high.
"That's out of our price range," said Costello. "We can't afford $4.1 million. That would use up the last of our cash."
However, he noted that the initial estimate for work on the Lockwood Boulevard and South Avenue stations was much higher than the amounts the township ultimately paid for the work and that perhaps the main station could be replaced for less than $4.1 million.
The MS report says the main fire station needs to be 24,550 square feet, which is 10,213 square feet larger than the present facilities.
The station's location can cause safety problems and traffic congestion when trucks are being backed into the station entrances, which are on Southern Boulevard and U.S. Route 224, the MS report says, but it doesn't suggest a new location for the station.
The station also doesn't conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act for accessibility to a public meeting room and restroom.
Office spaces in both the fire station and the meeting room of the fire prevention office building are insufficient to meet the department's growing needs, the analysis said.
It says the criteria to determine renovation vs. rebuilding are whether the cost to renovate exceeds 50 percent of the cost of a new fire station and whether renovation would satisfy the department's needs for 20 years.
The cost of upgrades and renovations would be less than 50 percent of the cost of a new fire station, the report says, though it doesn't list the renovation cost.
"However, the growing fire department's need for additional space would not be met and the projected 20-year needs would not be satisfied."
The estimated $4.1 million cost to build a new station includes demolition of the former maintenance, fire prevention office and vehicle storage buildings and the station, adjacent office and living quarters as well as building a new station and vehicle storage building.