GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The town began accepting proposals for the sale and reuse of the old fire station at 20 Castle St. on Dec. 22, and while the sale price of the building is up for negotiation, one thing is clear: the 1899 firehouse is going to require work — a lot of work.
The deadline for these completed and sealed proposals is Feb. 9, no later than 2 p.m., at which point the proposals will be publicly opened and perused by the Selectmen.
According to the town manager’s request for proposals, the 15,146-square foot, three-story wood and brick structure in the Downtown B business zone is in desperate need of renovation in order to make it useful.
The RFP includes a 2001 observations report conducted by Clark Engineering & Surveying PC and Mitchell Ross Associates Architects PC that outlines some of the building’s problems. Of major concern are the spalling (breaking) bricks that are literally falling off the tower, the deteriorating asphalt roof, improper ventilation and, of course, the presence of asbestos-containing materials. These materials were discovered and listed in a 1998 pre-renovation asbestos survey conducted by Eco-Genesis. Insulation, cement, floor tiles, flashing and even window glazing were found to have asbestos in them.
A final 2005 assessment of the building conducted by Huntley Associates PC reported that the “reuse and retrofit of the current firehouse structure is feasible, but will likely be very complicated and extremely cost intensive.”
The report went on to say that building a new firehouse would be more cost effective. After years of debating an appropriate location, the new firehouse at 37 State Road opened in October 2009.
Bid submission requirements include a 5 percent deposit (made payable to the town) of the proposed purchase price as well as plan descriptions and graphics “sufficient to allow the Town to evaluate the proposal.”
For more information on the town’s request for proposals for the old fire station visit www.townofgb.org and click on the RFP for Castle Street Fire Station. While no public meeting as to reuse or bid has yet been scheduled, once bid proposals are reviewed by the Selectmen, a public forum will most likely be scheduled.