Monday, June 20, 2016

Fire Station/DPW Plan B

Fort River Elementary School

The current working plan involving three of the four upcoming major building projects is a bit like playing dominoes (or musical chairs):  The new DPW to be located at the town owned Fort River School, freeing up their former location for the new South Fire Station.

 Current DPW is located in 100 year old former Trolley building

Only problem is the Fort River School is still a (mostly) functional elementary school.

Should the $35 million or so Debt Exclusion Override for the new $65+ million Mega School pass Town Meeting this Fall and the voters at the November election the grand plan will be on its way.

Although it will take a few years before the new school is completed in two phases and construction can commence with the new DPW and then the new Fire Station.

But if those best laid plans fail to pass the first major hurdle of an Override vote this Fall both the DPW and Fire Station will have to find new site locations.  The DPW already did a feasibility study that concluded the Fort River School site was #1 but they also identified at least two other adequate sites:

 1) Ball Lane, North Amherst (former Matuszko Trucking)
2) Town land between Belchertown Road and Gull pond

Although the South Fire Station project is only now preparing to undertake a formal feasibility study, at least two sites have been mentioned as a possible location that falls within state guidelines for distance away from town center (so decrepit Central Station could be closed):

1) Slobody property behind South Town Commons, Pomeroy Village South Amherst
2) Town owned South Amherst Alternative High School, South East Street
Thus this coming Town Meeting will be critical in setting the stage for all four building projects which, all told, will cost over $100 million in town funding and should last a minimum of fifty years.

And Town Meeting will be under a microscope as the Charter Commission could propose a new Mayor/Council government, abandoning the 258 year old institution.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps literally building the building out of bundles of cash would be cheaper....?

Anonymous said...

Why not put the DPW and Fire Station at the same site? Lots of overlap re: vehicle maintance, traffic and use. Save land, building costs and money.

Anonymous said...

what does vince have to say about it?

Anonymous said...

How would the DPW get in and out of the Fort River site multiple times a day?
School buses only have to do it twice a day.
Friday afternoon would be complete grid lock.

Anonymous said...

"How would the DPW get in and out of the Fort River site multiple times a day?
School buses only have to do it twice a day.
Friday afternoon would be complete grid lock."

I know! I know! A(nother) roundabout is just what we need! (where is that sarcasm font?)

Anonymous said...

Wasn't a list of town properties, uses, condition, repairs needed, etc. put together? Where is it? Seems like a good moment to look at the big picture.

Anonymous said...

Could the DPW stay where it is and just get a major overhaul? I kind of like the idea of the Fire Station at the underutilized South Amherst Alternative High School. And, it's true that come and go access would be tricky at the East St. location. DPW could also easily work at the Matusko trucking site. Brilliant idea.

Larry Kelley said...

Guilford asked me to publish this (he's having technical difficulties posting a comment):

The consultant study looked at staying at the existing site and keeping the Tree and Grounds Division at War Memorial pool. The study can be found at this link.

The Study Committees web page is at this link.

G. Mooring

DPW Superintendent

Dr. Ed said...

If the problem wiyh Fort River School is that it is on swampland, why wouldn't a DPW builsing be equally problematic?

Anonymous said...

What's the Superintendent doing reading a blog web site a 8:00 in the morning, shouldn't he be working?

Larry Kelley said...

Some would argue reading me is work.

Anonymous said...


By definition.

Most over 60 and under 40 have trouble with this concept.

Dr. Ed said...


Or providing value to employer in exchange for compensation.

Most over 60 and under 40 have trouble with this concept.


Anonymous said...

speaking of the Fort River school, whatever happened with the principal search? The search was reopened after only 1 candidate remained. Have any hiring decisions been made since or will Fort River, like the ARMS, be looking at an interim principal for next school year?

Anonymous said...

There is a new pro new elementary school building web site that went live recently:

Interesting nowhere on the site does it mention the people affiliated with the group... hmmm....
though it was reportly designed by a spouse of a new School Committee member.

In comparison, the Save Our Small Schools group has clearly identified who they are:

Transparency matters!