Fire Department Facilities Review Committee issues status report
to the Selectboard
KILLINGTON — The Killington Fire and Rescue Department facilities no longer meet state criteria or the needs of the volunteer fire department. In order for the town of Killington to decide the best course of action for the future of these facilities, the Killington Selectboard decided to appoint a group of citizens to serve on a Fire Department Facilities Review Committee to help guide that choice. On Nov. 11, 2014, the Killington Selectboard appointed the following five citizens: Stephen Finneron, Otto Iannantuoni, Vito Rasenas, Andrew Salamon, and Andrea Weymouth.
The Committee was tasked with making a recommendation to the town on how to proceed with the renovation or reconstruction of the Fire Department facilities. The Committee is considering the short- and long-term needs of the fire department, has reviewed the study done by architects Dore and Whittier (hired by the town to review the fire department facilities), consulted outside experts, and fostered citizen participation in the review/recommendation process, which will continue throughout the process.
Furthermore, the Selectboard asked Town Manager Seth Webb and fire department personnel to attend the committee meetings and to participate in this process.
The committee has met six times between December and April to tour the current fire station, review the facilities assessment and building feasibility study by Dore and Whittier, interview fire department and town officials about operations and requirements, analyze cost estimates and financing options, and review alternative building sites.
In February, the committee issued an initial status report to the Selectboard stating: “The current site is inadequate to meet the current needs and future needs of the Killington fire station and renovating the existing structure is not cost effective. Our (the committee’s) recommendation is to build a new structure on an alternate site.”
The committee also noted at its April meeting that the current fire station does not meet state building codes and has to be repaired or rebuilt. The committee believes that since it would cost over $2.5 million just to bring the building to code (without addressing many of the fire department’s needs) and the facility would still partially be on someone else’s land, if renovation was pursued. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to invest in the current site, the committee concluded.
One member summed up the issue: “It would take a lot of money to renovate the old facility, and when we got through, we’d have the same problems. There isn’t enough space inside, and there isn’t enough space outside. We need a new site.”
As a result of these findings, the committee recommended that the town allocate funds to assess potential sites. “This assessment is required before further committee work can continue,” the committee stated.
To assist with the assessment and next steps, the committee is visiting potential new sites in May, and will visit other fire stations in Vermont to learn about cost effective building strategies. The committee will issue another report to the Selectboard on these findings.
The committee will also host a series of Open House Days at the Fire Station on Killington Rd. later this summer and fall, inviting voters to visit the station and see firsthand why the town needs to invest in a new facility.
On April 28 the Committee ratified this status report to the Selectboard. A copy of all the committee’s meeting minutes are posted at killingtontown.com under Boards & Commissions/Selectboard/Fire Department Facilities Review Committee.