NORTHFIELD – An early spring 2020 construction start is anticipated for expansion of the village’s fire station at 10271 Northfield Road, according to the architectural firm in charge of the project.

During a Sept. 11 meeting of Village Council’s fire and safety committee, Randy Baker of Baker Bednar Snyder & Associates revealed details and showed renderings of the planned upgrades to the station, which was built in 2003.

The plans call for 3,850 square feet of new space on the first floor and 2,720 square feet on the second floor, bringing the building to a total of 12,150 square feet.

Earlier this year, Council authorized the mayor to seek qualifications from architectural designers, and Fire Chief Jason Buss said the Warren firm was chosen after three firms were interviewed.

Law Director Brad Bryan said the architectural firm will be paid 9 percent of what the addition and renovations would cost. Baker said the estimated construction cost is $2.6 million with contingencies.

According to its website, some of the company’s design work includes the Bazzetta Township fire station near Cortland, Akron Children’s Hospital facilities in Warren and Lisbon, Middlefield Bank in Cortland, a fraternity house at the University of Mount Union and Town Center at Firestone Farms in Columbiana.

In the past couple of years, Buss has told Council of the need for expanded facilities at the fire station.

“We had no full-time firefighters when the station was built, but now have a full-time staff,” he said. “We have inadequate living quarters, no sprinklers and only one exit, the bays are short and we need space to park more equipment inside.”

Buss said funding could come from the city’s budget, Tax Increment Financing the village receives from MGM Northfield Park, or a bond issue.

The money the village gets from MGM Northfield Park is required under state law to be used for public infrastructure projects connected in some way with the Route 8 entertainment facility, and the fire department qualifies.

Baker suggested the village advertise for expansion bids in the first couple of months of 2020, and award a contract in March. “You get the most competitive bids when you seek them early in the year,” he noted.

Baker said his firm recommends adding a vehicle bay on the north side of the building and lengthening the two existing bays by about 20 feet. Vehicles could be driven through both ends of all three bays.

Office space would be altered somewhat, a space for washing and storage of turnout gear would be created, living quarters and a laundry area on the second floor would be provided with a balcony added, and a training/workout area would be created toward the back of the building.

Baker explained the new apparatus bay would be erected first, with the office and living quarters renovation to follow. He added a sloped roof with shingles and concrete flooring are planned. Mayor Jesse Nehez said improved lighting outside also is in the plans.

Buss said once the expansion is completed the station should serve the community for many years to come, and further expansion should not be necessary as long as the station remains in that location.

“We have designed dozens of projects, and we’re very excited to be part of Northfield’s fire station project,” said Baker.

The fire and safety committee also discussed purchasing security cameras for Huntington and Smith parks. Quotes from a couple of providers were reviewed, and Police Chief John Zolgus said he is awaiting a quote from one other company.

The system being proposed by the third company includes analytic software which provides many more search parameters than the other companies’ cameras do, and Zolgus said that system would be more costly.

“It’s not an easy thing to pick a surveillance system,” said Zolgus. “These systems are very technical and can be complicated to understand. But we need equipment that produces the information we want.”

Zolgus said the village possibly could receive grant money if officials decide to go with the higher-cost system.

Once Zolgus obtains the quote from the third company, the committee will meet again to decide what to do about the cameras.

Contact the newspaper at 330-541-9433, or