The current Randolph fire station. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

RANDOLPH — Depending on the weather, work on Randolph’s new fire station could begin before year’s end.

“That’s why I say for the next Town Meeting, it may not be finished but we could get under four walls and a roof,” Ron Cunningham, chief of the Randolph Volunteer Fire Department, said Saturday.

On Thursday, Randolph residents voted to authorize town officials to borrow up to $1.2 million for a new fire station that has been in the works for at least eight years.

With that step completed, Randolph moves a step closer in joining the communities across Kennebec County that have invested in new fire stations over the past several years.

The project is expected to go out to bid later this year, and, depending on the weather, earth work at 104 Kinderhook St. could get underway before the end of 2020.

The new fire station will be larger than the existing one, and it will move the facility entirely out of the floodplain of the Kennebec River.

“We have to look to the future,” Cunningham said. “We can’t build for what’s there.”

Randolph officials have been talking about a new fire station for years.

In 2012, voters at the Town Meeting approved a proposal to buy property on Kinderhook and Windsor streets for a Fire Department, and the town acquired it in 2013.

The next year, students in the University of Maine at Augusta’s architecture program worked on developing designs for a new fire station.

Since then, voters have approved funds to pay for the design of the building and completed an estimate of the cost.

Cunningham said the project hit a delay when bids came back $400,000 to $500,000 more than officials had anticipated.

“It was more than we wanted to spend,” he said, “so I went back to the drawing board.”

Cunningham reduced the size of the building, eliminated some features and changed the style to bring it down to the current $1.2 million.

The proposed building is expected to be 60 feet by 90 feet. Plans call for three bays, a decontaminating shower and washing facilities for turnout gear and space for storage.

The design includes space for two offices, a small kitchen, bathrooms that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a meeting/training room with a capacity of 48.

“It’ll be good for Town Meeting,” Cunningham said, “so we don’t have look for space anymore.”

Traditionally, the annual budget vote had been held at the gymnasium at the Teresa C. Hamlin Elementary School on Water Street, but that option is no longer available since the Gardiner-area school district closed and sold the school. This year, town officials were able to use Farrin’s Country Auctions for the Town Meeting.

The school had also been equipped to serve as the town’s warming center, if needed. Cunningham said the new fire station will have a generator and air conditioning, and can be used for a daytime cooling or warming center.

This rendering shows the design proposed for the new Randolph fire station.

Cunningham brought a rendering of the new building to the Town Meeting, and most residents stopped to take a look before and after the annual budget vote.

He said no one had commented on the appearance, which is meant to fit into the residential neighborhood on Kinderhook Street.

The Water Street station is more than five decades old and sits in the flood plain of the Kennebec River. While it used to house the Town Office, it is now barely big enough to house the town’s two fire trucks.

Cunninghan said the site of the new station will have access to both Windsor and Kinderhook streets.

The site on Kinderhook Street where the new Randolph fire station would be built. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Earlier this year, both Farmingdale and Oakland opened new fire stations. Hallowell, Winthrop and Pittston dedicated fire stations in 2018. And in 2017, Augusta opened its new North Station.

 

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