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New fire station to be state of the art

Date: 10/13/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Construction workers building the foundation of the new fire station on White Street took a break on Wednesday afternoon while Mayor Domenic Sarno and Fire Commissioner Gary Cassanelli led a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the new $5 million facility.

Located on a triangular lot at 382 White St., the new fire station will replace two aging fire stations in the Forest Park neighborhood: the Oakland Street station (built in 1894) and the Sumner Avenue station (built in 1925).

Cassanelli said the new fire station will be "state of the art," and Sarno said the construction should be completed in about a year.

Patrick Sullivan, executive director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, said that when he started in his position three years ago Cassanelli had made the replacement of those two facilities one of his top priorities.

The Finance Control Board approved the use of city bonds for the construction process to begin.

Rita Coppola-Wallace, director of the Department of Capital Asset Construction, said the city saved money on the new building with current economic conditions driving down prices.

She added the building would be the first city building to try to obtain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating certification for sustainable building design and construction.

The station will be the first new municipal building in Springfield in the last 10 years and is designed to reduce its energy use by 20 percent and water consumption by 40 percent. The design also reduces the building's potential contribution to heat island effects - the fact that cities are generally hotter than the surrounding less developed countryside. The builders also intend to reduce the amount of construction waste sent to landfills by 75 percent.

Sarno said the two existing stations would be evaluated for possible use by the city and then, if no use is determined, go through a Request for Proposals or a Request for Qualifications process.