Design work continues on safety/administrative center

Ken Lahmers
Special to MyTownNEO
This rendering is what the township’s new safety/administrative center could look like from the outside. DS ARCHITECTURE
This illustration shows the proposed layout of the township’s safety/administrative center. The red areas are primarily for fire department use, the yellow areas for administrative offices and the blue area for a county sheriff’s outpost.

NORTHFIELD CENTER – The design phase for the township’s safety/administrative center project is continuing, and trustees heard an update on progress thus far at their April 5 regular meeting.

Infinity Construction of Warrensville Heights was awarded a design contract March 1 at a cost of $46,400 for the proposed building beside the service department garage at 8484 Olde Eight Road.

The contract obligates the township only to the site’s and building’s design, plus a guaranteed maximum price. Once the design phase is completed, the $46,400 fee is paid and a guaranteed maximum price is determined, trustees can choose Infinity or any other firm to do site preparation and erect the building.

The building would consist of about 10,100 square feet and provide space for the fire department, township offices and a sheriff’s outpost, which now operate at the 100-plus-year-old Township Hall and adjacent fire station at Route 82 and Brandywine Road.

According to Eric Pros of DS Architecture, which is teaming up with Infinity in the design phase, the estimated cost of the new building will be determined soon, and township residents will be able to participate in a public engagement phase.

“We’re making a lot of progress, and the township and Macedonia Fire Department are working well with the Infinity team,” said Fire Chief Brian Ripley. “We’re really getting excited about this project.”

Pros showed some updated drawings and renderings to the trustees, and noted the firm has reduced the originally proposed size of the building from about 11,000 square feet to 10,100. Cost estimates range from $1.7 million to $3.5 million.

According to information posted on the township’s website, tax increases should not be needed to fund the project. Rather, it would be paid for with existing general fund money, a potential bond sale and selling property where the current fire station is located.

Trustees have said the current station has fallen into disrepair. Built in the 1960s, it has been added onto several times. The building is not up to code and exhibits problems with electrical panels, insulation, concrete and washroom facilities.

In August 2020, a committee was formed to address the needs of the township and fire department, and after several meetings it determined the best approach is to build at the more centrally located Olde Eight and West Highland roads site.

“The existing station is essentially four different structures, attached ineffectively, so structurally it is not where it should be, which causes leaking roof issues,” says the information on the township’s website.

“Items such as HVAC, electrical and plumbing have all been constant issues, but more importantly the station does not function as it should operationally, given the  inadequate layout with the add-ons over the last 50 years, the lack of facilities for female and male locker rooms and inadequate decontamination facilities.”

Township officials have determined that putting money into a 65-year-old structure which is the wrong layout/size and not ideally located to serve residents is unfeasible, plus the Ohio Department of Transporation has plans to widen Route 82, thus eliminating much of the designated parking in front of the station.

Officials have said a new building could serve the township for the next 75 to 100 years, and would reduce response times for fire department emergency calls and increase operational efficiency since all township services would be at one site.

Officials plan to keep the existing Town Hall to use as a gathering place, and would try to secure grants to fix up the building starting with the roof and gutters.

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