The process leading to a new fire station in Bedford is picking up speed.
Representatives of eight design firms attended a 15-minute informational meeting in Town Hall Tuesday morning.
Proposals from any or all of them, and any others who have read the town’s request for quotes on the project, must be received by 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, to be considered.
Meanwhile, interviews with (followed by appointment of) candidates for the three at-large slots on the fire station building committee are scheduled for Monday’s Select Board meeting.
The following week, the committee will interview designers, and the Select Board will approve a contract at its March 13 meeting. Town Meeting in March 2022 approved $1.42 million for the design work.
Final design is due in September, and if approved by the Historic District Commission, the process will culminate with a special town meeting article, probably on a Monday in November, with voters deciding on a bond for construction.
Brian DeFilippis, director of PMA Consultants and the project manager for the fire station, joined Town Manager Sarah Stanton, Fire Chief David Grunes, Facilities Director Taissir Alani, and Charlie Ticotsky, Assistant to the Town Manager, at the information session head table.
Stanton told the audience, “This is incredibly important for the community. Firefighters are very excited about the project. The Select Board unanimously supports the project. We’re really hoping to find the right firm for this critical infrastructure in the community.”
Stanton added, “There will be a lot of contact with the Historic District Commission. We need someone with a lot of experience in historic properties, making sure we get this right and have the right project for the town.”
She referenced the special fire station website pages and the recent preservation report on the current structure at 139 The Great Road.
One candidate asked if there was any consideration of retaining part or all of the current building at 139 The Great Road in the design. Stanton replied, “We are open to consideration of reuse depending on architectural evaluation,” even though the house has no historical significance.
The candidates were encouraged to visit the property on their own. “Just drive right up,” the town manager said.
A member of the HDC, Karl Winkler, suggested the designer provide “a simple template of the size and massing and location of whatever the direction is chosen. It doesn’t have to be what the building looks like, but merely the approach entrance and exit.”
“All of this will be vetted through the building committee as well as the designer,” Stanton said. There will be lots of thoughtful preparation. We want to make sure there is input from many sources.”