Fire Station Project Consultant Has “Passion for Preservation”

September 30, 2022

The historical consultant engaged to evaluate the significance of a building on the proposed fire station site heads a firm that provides clients with “alternative options for their most valued asset.”

Ryan D. Hayward is president of The Preservation Collaborative. According to the biography on the firm’s website, “His love for history and passion for preservation has made his work a brilliant mixture of design, while maintaining traditional New England style.”

Town Manager Sarah Stanton told the Select Board at its meeting Monday that Hayward has already started his research on the building at 139 The Great Road. Town meeting in March approved purchasing the property and financing the design process to ultimately replace the 73-year-old Fire Department headquarters at 55 The Great Road.

The Select Board Monday also approved a contract with PMA Associates of Braintree to work as the owner’s project manager for the fire station project, for a price of $562,330. The firm “has done extensive work in historic districts,” Stanton said.

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“It seems like we’ve started to build a great team around this,” remarked Emily Mitchell, Select Board chair.

In answer to a question from board member Margot Fleischman, Stanton said Hayward will prepare a report on the historic significance of the building. She said his research will address questions such as, “When was it built? Does the history align with the history we have? What part was renovated?”

She also posed another question: “Are we incorporating the building as part of the future design?” Stanton noted, “This is not uncommon in communities with historic structures.”

The town manager also emphasized that Hayward expects to be meeting with the Historic District Commission on Oct. 5.  Several commission members were initially skeptical when the site was announced last winter, suggesting that a fire station would compromise the character of the historic district. At their most recent meeting, members were more conciliatory, asking to be included in pre-design conversations.

“We’re making sure the HDC has the opportunity to have information,” Stanton declared at Monday’s meeting

Hayward holds a bachelor’s degree in design studies-historic preservation from Boston Architectural College.  He is a member of the Stow Minutemen and serves as a volunteer tour guide for the Isaac Royall House in Medford.

Among his firm’s recent ventures are the Townsend Heritage Trail and preservation of historic houses in Belmont, Danvers, and Waltham.

Stanton said the owner’s property manager “will be working with Ryan to create design documents, which cannot really begin until Ryan has completed the historic preservation analysis work.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Select Board approved an agreement with Drummey Rosanne Anderson (DRA) of Waltham to conduct the municipal space-needs study authorized by annual town meeting. Stanton said the work will begin immediately and should take about 14 months. The contract is for $141,800.

The study will comprise 10 town buildings, including the former Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Loomis Street, the row of garages on the Veterans Administration  Hospital campus, and the Facilities Department section at the ground level of John Glenn Middle School.

Board member Ed Pierce pointed out that DRA and the architect who heads the firm, James Barrett, were the designers of Davis School.

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