November 23, 2022

Pepperell Building Committee identifies site of proposed public safety complex

PEPPERELL – The Pepperell Building Committee has identified a site for the future public safety complex on Jersey Street and released a conceptual design for the project.

Due to the structurally and functionally deficient facilities currently used to house the police and fire departments and the Patriot Regional Emergency Communications Center, the building committee began work in early 2021 to determine the best course of action to correct the problem.

The Building Committee issued a press release this week stating that, through their work with Tecton Architects and engineering consultancy firm Vertex, they have determined that the Jersey Street site and building footprint on which it installed best meet public safety needs, as well as urban planning and community priorities. .

The statement said the proposal “has several favorable attributes,” including lower construction costs, lowest neighborhood impact, and is best suited to the needs of public safety agencies while leaving the site of the Fitzpatrick school available for other future uses.

The Shattuck School building, built in 1895 and used as the current headquarters of the police station, would ultimately see its future decided by the Select Board and the community once the department moved.

Since winning city assembly approval to proceed with work last spring, the building committee has partnered with Tecton and Vertex to develop design concepts and identify possible sites for a future public safety shared by Pepperell Police and Fire Services.

Through this process, the building committee identified an interim design and location on Jersey Street adjacent to the current fire department substation as the most viable approach to constructing a new public safety complex, says the press release.

The committee identified this path forward from more than a dozen options, spread between Jersey Street and the site of the Peter Fitzpatrick School.

With this progress, the project will soon enter its second phase, which will include the development of schematic designs into architectural drawings.

The construction committee is currently working to determine the feasibility of using American Rescue Plan Act funds for this phase to minimize the cost to Pepperell ratepayers.

Once the architectural drawings are completed, the committee will solicit competitive bids that will specify the cost to construct the facility. In the meantime, draft schematic plans have been sent for estimation and must be submitted at the end of winter. This will give the city a solid estimate of the future cost of the project.

“The entire committee has worked diligently with our consultants to determine how we can build a new public safety facility that best serves our first responders while remaining cost-effective,” committee chair Catherine Lundeen said in the communicated. “The entire group is keenly aware of the need to reduce costs, and we are confident that the timeline we have identified will help both move this project forward and reduce the costs to deliver it.

“Waiting much longer could snuff out this opportunity, as inflation and pressures mean costs could rise, while the need for this facility only increases over time,” she added.

Before the municipal assembly on May 2, the construction committee will organize free information sessions open to the public.

For updates on the project, visit pepperellproject.com.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis.