Above: The residence on the corner of Main Street and Split Rock Road will be moved in anticipation of a new stationhouse for the Warner Fire Department.
By Ray Carbone
WARNER – The town’s Fire Station Building Review Committee has sold the house that currently sits on land where town officials hope to someday build a new stationhouse for the fire department.
Chairman Allen N. Brown announced at a meeting in the town hall last week that the board of selectmen recently agreed to sell the 50-year-old private residence on the corner of Main Street and Split Rock Road to area resident Bob Irving for $337. The property was purchased by the town last year and no one is living in the house at this time.
Selectman Kimberley Edelmann confirmed on Saturday that Irving’s tentative plans call the structure to be moved soon to another location in town. “We didn’t want to tear it down,” she said, noting that the building is in relatively good shape.
Community leaders have been studying the idea of building a new facility for the fire department and emergency management operations for some time now. Officials say that the current station on Main Street is too small and inadequate for modern use.
The committee has been working with Anthony Mento, a Warner resident and project manager with Sherr, McCrystal, Palson (SMP) Architecture, Inc., of Concord, and North Branch Construction of Concord, on the proposed project.
Tentative plans would call for constructing a brick building that would be approximately 11,00-square feet and include offices and meeting space for emergency management and training, as well as fire department purposes. At last year’s annual town meeting, voters approved a $100,000 request to move the project forward with the goal of presenting a complete building proposal to residents for consideration at the 2018 March town meeting. Early estimates pegged the final price of the project at more than $2.5-million.
But exactly when the old residence will be moved is not yet clear, according to Ed Mical, the town’s emergency management director.
On Saturday, Mical said he’s planning to apply for a Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) grant that could help pay for some equipment (including computers, telephones, desks and chairs) for the proposed building’s emergency management operations. But the grant application stipulates that before new construction begins, there must be an environmental and historical evaluation of the current property. A certified historic expert has reviewed the land and building, he said, and now state officials must consider the findings and forward a recommendation to FEMA.
“Until we get their (FEMA’s) okay, we can’t touch the property,” explained Edelman.
Meanwhile, the town is scheduled to begin test borings on the site on August 2.
At last week’s meeting, the building committee agreed on several other important aspects of the proposed building project, according to Edelmann. One is the basic room design in the one-story building. Another insures that the garage space will have clear span throughout. And, finally, environmental issues have led to the group’s choice of an exterior concrete wall system that will be somewhat thicker than earlier proposals.
The group did not agree on a proposal from the town’s energy committee to hire an outside consultant to review the building plans with an eye towards insuring energy effectiveness. Mento of SMP said that his company supported the idea and agreed with the energy group’s recommendation. Several committee members said they chose the company specifically because they understood that the firm was able to provide energy-related expertise.
Mento said that SMP does have a good body of energy-related knowledge but acknowledge more specific issues could be addressed by an outside consultant.
Chairman Brown noted that the committee is working from a “bare bones” budget provided by the selectmen, and that there wasn’t money to hire an outside energy consultant right now.
After some discussion, the group agreed to review a list of possible consultants that the energy committee would supply before making a final decision soon.
This story first appeared in the InterTown Record of Sutton, N.H., Tuesday, July 18, 2017. NOTE: The print edition, and an earlier version published here, incorrectly listed the price of the home. It is $337; the earlier, much larger, figure reflected information provided by a town official. We apologize for the error.