Public Safety Building Update
Many of you have watched with excitement as the Public Safety Building at 12 Union Street has taken shape.
Construction on the Public Safety Building began on March 16, 2021, following an overwhelming vote of support to fund the project at special town meeting and the ballot in January 2021. The 42,000-square-foot, three-story building will house both the Police and Fire Departments.
“After lamenting the need for a new public safety building for decades, it is refreshing to know we are on the verge of actually moving our police and fire operations to a new facility. We did not want to repeat mistakes of the past, so it is built not only for the needs of today, but for future growth of the departments in mind. Also, the forward-thinking design incorporates sustainability features such as geothermal technology and green roofs, said Town Manager, Michael Herbert.
The new facility comes after decades of discussing upgrades to the existing Police and Fire stations located on Main Street, and the additional Fire Station on Cedar Street. The buildings were out dated and not conducive to present day’s daily operations.
Ashland’s new Public Safety Building features an apparatus bay for all vehicles, dispatch center, locker rooms, fitness area, break room, training room, office space for both departments, a records room, a shooting range, and more. The facility’s new location at 12 Union St., creates an opportunity for a faster response time allowing first responders to cross over the railroad tracks quickly via Fountain Street.
In addition to its practical components, the building also has incredible features such as its geothermal technology, green roofs, and solar panels. The Green Roof System – initially conceived by Ashland students entering robotics and Lego-challenge competitions - includes a waterproof layer, drainage system, and growing plants. These roofs act as natural filters for water runoff and decrease stress on storm water systems. The geothermal technology draws energy from within the ground to heat the building and generate electricity.
A committed group of volunteers, town leadership, and town staff led the project. HKT Architects Inc. and CTA Construction Co. Inc. companies worked diligently to keep up with a rigorous time schedule despite challenges during the process.
The facility was constructed quickly on land taken by eminent domain for zero dollars, breaking ground in March 2021 and celebrating the beam raising ceremony in September 2021. Following construction throughout the winter, crews completed a majority of the structure’s construction by May 2022. Over the summer, the new traffic light at Union Street and Waverly Street was installed, while the curbing and sidewalk work also took place. The facility will be officially opened once a resolution is reached on the apparatus bay doors, which has been plagued by delays.
Michael Herbert said, “There are so many people that deserve our thanks for this project, starting with an excellent building committee chaired by Select Board member Joe Magnani. The Select Board deserves our thanks for agreeing to make this a priority project for the town. Ashland has been the beneficiary of incredible staff and professional support thanks to multiple Chiefs in both departments, Vertex, HKT Architects and CTA Construction. However, the successful construction of the project has been achieved through the prominent work of Assistant Town Manager Jenn Ball. Finally, we wouldn’t able to do this without the overwhelming support of Town Meeting and voters.”
Public Safety Building Committee Chairman and Select Board member Joe Magnani shared his gratitude saying, “We are very grateful to the townspeople for their vote and their understanding for the need of this new building. We are very lucky to have this new building for our first responders.”
Please visit the Town of Ashland website for information regarding the facility’s official opening at ashlandmass.com.