PEPPERELL – The Pepperell Building Committee wishes to provide the community with an update on the work it’s completed in the latter half of 2021, which has so far resulted in the selection of a site and conceptual design for a future public safety complex.
The Building Committee began its work in early 2021 to determine the best path forward, as the police and fire departments and the Patriot Regional Emergency Communications Center continue to work out of structurally and functionally deficient facilities.
Through its work with Tecton and VERTEX, the Building Committee determined that the Jersey Street site and building footprint it has settled on best aligns with public safety needs, as well as community and town planning priorities.
The proposal has several favorable attributes, including likely costs to build, lowest impact to the neighborhood, and is best suited for the needs of the public safety agencies while leaving the Fitzpatrick School site available for other future uses.
The Shattuck School building, built in 1895 and used as the current police station headquarters, would ultimately have its future decided by the Select Board and the community once the department relocates.
Since earning Town Meeting approval last spring to continue its work, the Building Committee has partnered with Tecton Architects and VERTEX to develop design concepts and identify possible sites for a future public safety complex shared by the Pepperell Police and Fire Departments.
Through that process, the Building Committee has identified a tentative design and location on Jersey Street next to the current Fire Department substation as the most viable approach to building a new public safety complex. The Committee identified this particular path forward from among more than a dozen options, split between Jersey Street and the Peter Fitzpatrick School site.
The project will soon enter its second phase, where schematic designs will be developed into architectural drawings. The Building Committee is working now to determine the feasibility of using American Rescue Plan Act funds for this phase in order to minimize the cost to Pepperell’s taxpayers.
Once architectural drawings are complete, the committee will seek competitive bids that will clarify the cost to build the facility. In the meantime, draft schematic plans have been sent out for estimating and are due back in late winter. This will give the town a strong estimate of the future project cost.
“The entire committee has been working diligently with our consultants to identify how we can build a new public safety facility that best serves our first responders while remaining cost-effective,” Committee Chair Catherine Lundeen said. “The entire group is deeply cognizant of the need to keep costs down, and we’re confident that the timeline we’ve identified will help to both move this project forward and lock in lower costs to get it done.
“Waiting much longer could result in that opportunity slipping away, as inflation and pressures mean that costs could go up, while the need for this facility only grows with time,” Lundeen added.
Prior to Town Meeting on May 2, the Building Committee will host information sessions that are free and open to the community. More details about information sessions will be made available soon.