With an extra push from the town, Rocky Point Fire District is setting its sights on early June to begin construction of a more durable and up-to-date firehouse in the footprint of its existing one at 90 King Road. The $8.5 million project, approved by the public in a vote in August 2017, also includes the acquisition of a new aerial ladder truck.
During the Jan. 25 Town of Brookhaven board meeting, council members voted to waive the project’s site plan requirements and building fees, turning an administrative review over to its Department of Planning, Environment and Land Management instead of outside engineers. This reduces the overall cost to taxpayers and speeds up the “shovel in the ground” process, according to fire district officials.
“Every little bit helps,” said Rocky Point Fire District Vice Chairman Kirk Johnson, who was unable to provide the exact costs the fire district would be saving at this time. “It’s not astronomical, but there are significant costs, and those things add up.”
“The fire district is very fiscally conservative, but the first responders don’t have room, they respond to an enormous amount of calls and the building isn’t very energy-efficient. This needs to be done.”
— Jane Bonner
Fire district officials have been working alongside architect group Hawkins Webb Jaeger since last year to fine-tune the design of the new firehouse — which the project’s architect said will be made of natural stone as opposed to brick; consist of pitched roofs and a hidden flat roof for storage of mechanical equipment; and include a spacious meeting room as well as a “ready room” for responders, who currently have to put on their gear in the way of incoming and outgoing fire trucks.
The building will also be up to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, the most widely used green building rating system in the world; include energy-efficient LED lights; and be equipped with better, more cost-efficient heating and cooling systems.
It was designed to have a “more residential feel” than the existing, decades-old building, according to Michael Russo, an associate architect at Hawkins Webb Jaeger.
“We felt this would be the bookend to the north end of the Rocky Point business district and something that works well for the edge of a residential community and the end of a North Shore downtown center,” Russo said.
Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) spoke of the benefits of the new design.
“It’s a very modest firehouse, very traditional looking, and it will blend in nicely in the community and downtown,” she said. “The fire district is very fiscally conservative, but the first responders don’t have room, they respond to an enormous amount of calls and the building isn’t very energy-efficient. This needs to be done.”
Russo and Johnson said upon breaking ground in June, they hope to complete construction of the new building’s apparatus bay by winter, so the fire vehicles can be stored and protected against freezing temperatures. During construction, fire district personnel will work out of portable trailers and possibly garages being offered up by community members.
Johnson said he estimates the project will take up to a year to complete. The fire district will be going out to bid for contractors in the coming months.