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Architect hired for new fire hall

A concept floor plan by Brunton Architects and Engineering shows the new fire hall next to the existing buildings on the city’s Ward Avenue site. The Hudson Common Council approved Brunton as the architect and engineering services for the new fire hall. Image from Brunton Architects and Engineering

The Hudson Fire Department is another step closer to getting its new home.

At its meeting on Monday, July 9, the Hudson Common Council approved selection of Brunton Architects and Engineering to construct a new fire hall at the city-owned Ward Avenue site near Plaza 94.

Fire Chief Scott St. Martin said the firm has shown to be efficient with needs and cost.

"They've proven in some of their past fire stations that they've built that they're able to do that with a high-quality product," he said.

A study done by Five Bugles Design in March 2017 showed the department needed a new space, citing operational challenges and deferred maintenance issues with the current building on Walnut Street.

"It's long overdue for us to get you in a new facility," Council Member Randy Morrissette II said.

The fee for Brunton is percentage-based. With a projected cost of up to $7 million, the current estimated cost is $422,000, St. Martin said.

Finance Director Brenda Malinowski said the city could use up to $2 million from undesignated fund, and then bond for the remaining cost. With that plan, the effect on the mill rate would be for the city would be 21 cents assessed value and 20 cents equalized value.

"We've pretty much done our homework and this is as reasonable as we can do," St. Martin said.

Bonding for the project would occur this fall or early spring. Malinowski said she'd like to look at the capital projects that will be discussed in October before deciding on bonding.

If the city pays for and owns the hall, it will then charge rent to its fire partners town of Hudson, town of Troy and village of North Hudson.

This new fire station is designed to be a 50-year building. St. Martin said it would serve the local needs until the point where an additional second station is necessary.

The Ware Avenue site was one of the top two centrally located places in the city. St. Martin said he is comfortable with the response times it will provide.

Council Member Paul Deziel said the council should look at what combining fire and St. Croix EMS into one building would mean for cost.

EMS is working with Five Bugles Design on design and engineering for a remodel of an existing building at Ward Avenue with project costs up to $500,000. The site has space for both buildings.

St. Martin said the city would have at least 30 days after signing the contract with Brunton to add EMS to the plan in the same building at a per square foot price.

Morrissette said that questions has been asked before. In March 2018 the council heard that adding EMS to the fire hall plan could cost upwards of $2 million.

Morrissette said did not want to hold off on filling the fire department's needs.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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