Sandwich Selectmen To Consider Siting Options For Public Safety Buildings

The question of where to put public safety buildings, if not necessarily what to pay for them, will be presented to Sandwich selectmen at their next meeting Thursday, July 10.

Sandwich town manager George H. Dunham said on July 3 that the board is scheduled to review various location concepts for town public safety facilities at its next meeting, which will begin at 7 PM in town hall.

Mr. Dunham said the idea of shifting the police station and the fire headquarters from their separate buildings on Route 6A to a combined facility at the intersection of Cotuit and Quaker Meetinghouse roads seems a likely outcome for whatever overall plan is eventually presented to Sandwich voters.


But the devil of dissension apparently lurks at least in part in the details over where to site fire substations in the town.

Mr. Dunham said the selectmen will be shown eight different scenarios for where to place public safety facilities in Sandwich.

One option calls for building a new fire substation at the Department of Public Works facility just south of downtown Sandwich on Route 130.

The substation would provide the coverage for downtown Sandwich and nearby sections now provided by fire headquarters on Route 6A.

Unlike the current fire headquarters, Mr. Dunham said, the new site on Route 130 would not be in the flood zone.

But how to better serve East Sandwich is a stickier problem.

One option calls for building a new substation in the vicinity of Sandwich High School.

Another calls for construction of a new substation at the current East Sandwich substation property on Route 6A.

One advantage is that the town already owns and has dedicated the parcel on which the station sits to fire service.

Disadvantages include the parcel’s location in a flood zone. Also, Mr. Dunham said, that the parcel is too small for a one-floor staffed station, the most desirable design. The town would have to construct a two-story building to fit the upgraded substation onto the lot.

The various siting scenarios reflect part of the work of the town’s public safety working group.

The group has been working on a revised plan to meet the town’s changing public safety needs following the rejection by Sandwich voters of a $30 million concept in May 2013.

The selectmen asked the group to pare its recommendation to something that cost at the most $20 million.

Mr. Dunham said scenarios now on the table previously would have cost an estimated $20 to $22 million, but construction costs have risen in the interim.

At next Thursday’s meeting on July 10, Mr. Dunham said, the working group will be giving a broad update to the board to get additional direction before the group does any further work.

“We're just focusing on site options and rough building designs at this point,” the town manager said. “We're not going to get new cost estimates until we get more direction from the selectmen.

If the board asks, Mr. Dunham said, the working group has design schematics for the headquarters and substation buildings, with one-story or two-story options for the substations.

Despite the voters’ rejection of the 2013 public safety plan, officials continue to pursue a way to change the siting and design of the town’s existing public safety facilities.

At this time, town officials say, population shifts in the town have resulted in inadequate emergency response time for one-third of the town.


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