Police station, Gleason Library topics at MFC meeting 

A discussion of the planned renovations for the Police Station was the first order of business at the May 21 Municipal Facilities Committee (MFC) meeting. Town Facilities Manager Stephen Bastek also provided the members with an update on projects at the Fire Station and Gleason Library. The committee began conversations about a five-year project plan. 

After voters at the April 29 Town Meeting approved $864,742 for the renovation of the Police Station, the committee has moved on the project, which includes addition of a vehicle sally port (secure entrance) in the basement, renovation of the basement, reconfiguring interior spaces, handicapped accessible rest rooms, entry area updates and a detached three-bay garage. 

Robert Jefferies, Principal at TBA Architects, shared a preliminary schedule (see Table 1). It was agreed that he and MFC Chair Jerry Lerman would review the schedule with Police Chief John Fisher.

Jefferies said that the plan is to cause as little disruption as possible to the station operation while working on the renovations. He reported that he met with neighbors and as a result he recommends reducing the roof height of the detached garage. He said plantings will be placed on the neighbor’s side of the new fence. MFC member Josh Kablotsky asked, “Do the plants require maintenance?” Jefferies said they will not. 

Table 1 Police Station RenovationRenovations are to include the lockup portion of the station. Jefferies said he needs to discuss the work with Fisher to see whether Fisher prefers to continue using the lockup area during construction or will instead use a mutual aid site until the work is completed. 

With the project budget capped by the Town Meeting vote, the committee discussed how to proceed if some renovations come in over budget. “When we get full schematic, we will see about the budget,” said Jefferies. He said if areas are over budget, there may be flexibility to pull back or delay some projects. 

Gleason Library

In other business, Bastek and Bill Risso said they recently spent time at the Gleason Public Library examining two pieces of equipment: a non-functioning air exchange unit on the library roof and the exterior ground-mounted air conditioning unit, which has been slowly leaking coolant. They were able to manually start the roof unit by pushing buttons while on the roof. Risso said it appears a control board in the unit was damaged during a power outage. Bastek said the unit is no longer made and finding replacement parts may be a challenge, but he would look for replacements. 

The air conditioning unit is functioning, but has what they believe is a slow leak. Risso said that approximately ten pounds of coolant (the unit holds 100 pounds) is added to the system each year during maintenance. Lerman said if just ten pounds are added each year it may be a simple fix. “If 50 pounds are leaking, then it is a problem.” Bastek said they would have the same engineer who will be looking at the roof unit examine the air conditioning unit. 

Fire Station

Per the request of Fire Chief Bryan Sorrows, the MFC priced both the removal of an underground fuel tank used for an emergency generator and the installation of an above-ground fuel tank to serve both the generator and the firetrucks. Because prices were over the $50,000 approved by the Town Meeting, the committee agreed to hold more discussions with Sorrows. 


In a discussion about future work at the Department of Public Works, the MFC discussed, but did not reach any conclusions on several topics, including: future locations of a septic system, renovations to the salt shed, and guesses as to where an former landfill was located on the property. 

Long-term planning

The committee discussed organizing the town’s future facility projects. “I suggest we come to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) with a five-year plan so there are no surprises,” said MFC member Kate Reid, who is also Chair of the Board of Selectmen (BOS). “I think the BOS needs to take ownership of all these projects, so we should have the conversation early.” ∆