Rochester hears from firms on public safety building

Sep 22, 2022

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Select Board heard presentations from three architectural firms who are looking to take part in a feasibility study on a new public safety facility in the town during a Sept. 22 meeting. 

According to Rochester Town Administrator Glenn Cannon, the board will discuss the three proposals during its next meeting on Oct. 3. 

The three firms, LiRo Corp, RGB Architects, and The Galante Architecture Studio, each went over their plans for how they would assess the needs of the town and select a space fitting for a building that could house Rochester’s fire and police departments. 

According to the Select Board, the town set aside $100,000 for the feasibility study, while an additional $50,000 will be allotted to the town from the state budget.

The feasibility study will examine the practicality and possibility of constructing a new building and the potential benefits to the town. 

Each firm highlighted the importance of communicating with the Town Hall, the Fire Department, the Police Department and the public. 

“We need to have clarity of communication, that is absolutely key, particularly with the end users,” said John Racine, Vice President of RGB Architects. “You folks are going to have to be there every day and ultimately use it.”

They also emphasized the importance of anticipating the needs of the town decades into the future and of placing the facility in a central location to ensure a fast response time during emergencies. 

“We want to look and see where your call volume is and how that compares with your location,” said Stuart McCutcheon, a contractor with LiRo Corp, referring to fire department response times. 

LiRo Corp, a Boston-based firm, previously worked on public safety complexes in Westhampton and Lynnfield, Massachusetts. They have also built police stations across the country.

Joe Spina, an architect with LiRo Corp, focused on the firm’s approach to selecting a viable location for the site using satellite mapping. 

Spina also explained that the firm would consolidate the operations of both fire and police departments into one building, giving both departments their own private spaces while providing common areas like locker rooms, gyms, and storage. 

RGB Architects, based out of Providence, recently constructed a public safety complex in Little Compton, Rhode Island, and a larger public safety facility in North Providence. 

During their presentation, RGB Architects pointed to their ability to design a building that fit the aesthetics of Rochester. 

“You’re not going to get an RGB building,” said David DeQuattro, an architect with RGB. “You’re going to get a building that fits Rochester.”

The Galante Architecture Studio, located in Cambridge, studied and designed a public safety complex in New Bedford that houses a portion of both the city’s fire department and police department. 

Ted Galante, the founder and design director of the firm, emphasized its ability to work within the project’s restraints to determine the best course of action, changing designs or adjusting for inflation when needed. 

According to Rochester Town Administrator Glenn Cannon, the board will discuss the three proposals during its Oct. 3 meeting. 

Once the Select Board approves a firm, that firm will complete the study over the winter and present its findings at the Spring Town Meeting.