By James Bentley
On November 30, the Plympton Public Safety Building Committee met to discuss plans for new police and fire stations. The committee expressed concern that actual cost will exceed the estimated cost the committee was initially given.
Historic Commission chairman Jon Wilhelmsen said, “When you look at the study that was done before, they did not suggest that we were going to build a police station for a million dollars. It did not say anything close to that.”
The committee directed much of the meeting toward addressing these challenges and trying to find a way to overcome them. Wilhelmsen says, “The question is whether the $1 million or $1.5 million that’s being thrown around was ever a realistic number.”
One of the concerns addressed was the cost of the sprinkler system. Because there would be cells in the basement of the new police station, a sprinkler system is necessary there. To save on the overall cost of the station’s system, the committee suggested potentially using one tank for both the police and fire station.
Another option the committee explored was decreasing the overall size of the station. Board of Health Chairman Art Morin mentioned the square footage may need to drop to around 6000 square feet.
Morin said, “We might like to have something, but they might not be practical within cost … It’s not that you’re trying to make everyone work out of a tiny space, cramped space, but there are some things that we are going to have to give up.”
The board discussed some of the items Police Chief Pat Dillon was willing to cut. He thinks the square footage can be brought down to between 7,200-7,500 square feet.
Morin believes the size can be cut more if no fitness center is included in the new police station. He did admit this would probably not be a popular decision.
The committee still has work to do to address these challenges, but they did discuss another plan that has the station at around 5,800 square feet. Options will continue to be explored at the next meeting scheduled on December 20, 2016.