Brunswick council weighs fire station upgrades

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BRUNSWICK — The Town Council is considering improvements to the heating and ventilation systems in Emerson fire station on Bath Road.

The discussion follows  following the recommendations of a engineering firm assigned to look into issues with room temperatures reported by members of the fire department.

A June 2014 report by the Wright-Pierce firm identified a number of problems with the building itself that were causing the temperature issues.

But a follow-up inspection by Brunswick-based Ouellet and Associates, the firm that designed the building, found that many of the problems identified by the department were due to changes in the technical settings governing air and water flow in the building, rather than design flaws. 

A second Wright-Pierce report released last month acknowledged that many of the issues were the result of settings that had been changed since the building was constructed in 2006 and the new proposed systems were enhancements, rather than repairs.

At the council meeting Monday, Mike Ouellet, president of the contracting company,  said most of the problems could be addressed simply by returning the building to its original settings. 

Some of the enhancements proposed by Wright-Pierce, like a system of thermostats for different living quarters in the building, were also included in the original building design, but were removed by the town because of budget considerations, Ouellet told the board. 

Overall, the reports from the two firms had more in common than they did differences, Ouellet noted.

On Wednesday, Interim Town Manager John Eldridge said some of the systems proposed by Wright-Peirce were included in the original design. 

It is unclear how the settings were thrown so off balance, Eldridge said, but it is likely that staff were trying to heat some areas and cool down others. 

Installing individual controls would help prevent a change in the building’s overall settings in the future, Eldridge added. 

The town office is putting together a project scope and budget for the council to consider at a later meeting, Eldridge said.

Wright-Pierce estimates that it will cost $136,000 to install all the enhancements. 

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or pmcguire@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter @mcguiremidcoast.

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