New Wading River fire station could cost up to $6M

The Hulse Landing Road fire house is in need of upgrades, district officials say. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)
The Hulse Landing Road fire house is in need of upgrades, district officials say. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Details about a plan to renovate the Hulse Landing fire station in Wading River — or raze it entirely and build a new one — have been revealed, with costs coming in at anywhere from $4 to $6 million.

During a Monday meeting at the Wading River Fire District’s headquarters, a project manager with a Melville engineering firm hired by the district said a new building would cost between $5.5 and $6 million. Expanding and renovating the current structure would cost between $4 and $4.5 million.

“The question is, once we take all the puzzle pieces and put them together, does it make sense and can we start accomplishing — and when I say ‘we’ I mean the fire department and the district — can we accomplish the needs that are required?” said Joe Mottola, vice president of H2M Architects and Engineers.

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According to district officials, the substation on Hulse Landing Road was built in 1982 and originally intended as a temporary structure. In 2012, the district held a referendum asking voters within the district whether they wanted to replace the facility at a cost of $4.75 million.

That plan would have replaced the 4,500-square-foot building with a new, 11,500-square-foot fire station. Ultimately, the bond failed, with 126 voters in favor and 198 opposed.

Because of this, the district has scaled back the size of the newly proposed building to 8,975 square feet this time around.

H2M project manager Jess Freitag said the measurements are based on an effort to accommodate the needs fire department members outlined in questionnaires given to them by the firm.

“We have three issues at this point,” she said. “I think one we could say is we have the repairs, all the capital work that needs to be done to the building. And then another issue is the safety concerns and the apparatus room.”

Reactions from the nearly 20 people at Monday’s meeting appeared mixed. Numerous concerns were raised, many of which were addressed.

“Not only would you be potentially doubling the size of the firehouse, what would be the cost/factor ratio for maintaining that building with heating, air conditioning, et cetera after it’s built?” one resident asked.

Other concerns included increasing the size of the radio room, making the bathrooms handicapped-accessible and the size of the offices and multipurpose room.

“The primary concern is the safety of the firefighters responding there, to provide their services to the community,” said Wading River Fire Department Chief Mark Donnelly. “The building, at this point, is inadequate for that response. The building is in desperate need of some repairs and renovations.

“It doesn’t meet current standards for storms — like hurricane standards and stuff like that — for an emergency building,” he continued.

Mr. Mottola and Ms. Freitag said they expect to return with floor plans for the station at the end of the summer. A subject not discussed at Monday’s meeting that is expected to be included in the bond vote are plans to renovate the Wading River Fire Department’s North Country Road headquarters.

The date for the bond vote has not yet been scheduled. Information about the plans can be found on the Wading River Fire District’s Facebook page.

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