Land Feasibility

Determining the Correct Location

In 2018, the Public Safety Building Committee commissioned a study from HKT Architects Inc. to determine the best possible location for a new public safety building.

Click here to view the 2008 Study

It has been determined that consolidation of the police and fire departments into a shared public safety facility in a central location would resolve the current and future space needs of each department. Furthermore, both departments advocated for combining facilities to take advantage of savings in operations and building efficiencies.

Building a single combined facility can reduce overall construction costs as the two departments can share a number of building systems and spaces that would otherwise need to be duplicated in separate facilities. These include:

  • Building Systems
    • HVAC equipment
    • Emergency generator
    • Fire protection / fire alarm systems
  • Communication Systems
    • Telephone
    • Computer servers
  • Security Systems
    • Door access control systems
    • Interior and exterior security cameras
  • Program Spaces
    • Training / Emergency Operations Center
    • Work-out / Fitness Facility
    • Lobby / Reception Space
    • Public toilet rooms
    • Circulation – elevator and egress stairs
  • Site Development
    • Visitor parking
    • Site improvements – walkways, fencing, flagpoles, site lighting, etc.
    • Utilities entering the site – transformer / electricity, water, sewer, gas

In addition to the cost savings of sharing systems and spaces, because the two departments work closely together, sharing the same facility has a number of benefits from an operational standpoint. Some examples include:

  • Dispatch – When emergency E911 calls come in and emergency situations arise, police and fire personnel are able to coordinate quickly and ensure a prompt response.
  • Communication – Personnel can walk back and forth between departments to meet rather than scheduling time to travel and meet at another location.
  • Public Access — Townspeople can find the help they need simply with a single facility.
    • The police department is continuously occupied 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The fire department is not continuously occupied when firefighters are responding to a call. If a
      member of the public comes looking for the fire department when they are on a call, someone from the police department is always available to help them.
  • First Aid / Medical – Occasionally a member of the public or a detainee will arrive at the police station needing some medical assistance. With a shared facility, the fire department can quickly
    respond.
  • Tools and Equipment Repairs – In a shared facility, the departments are able to share some maintenance tools and equipment. For example, police cruisers are able to put air in their tires
    from compressed air lines in the fire department’s apparatus bays.
  • Extended Operations – During extended operations, such as a snowstorm, the departments are able to work together and coordinate more easily from a shared facility and they are able to share resources, such as food, for personnel working extended shifts.

After analyzing the options on the two potential sites, the Town and the Design Team agreed that the Union Street site was clearly the most desirable location for the future Ashland Public Safety Building. This preference is due in a large part to the site’s central location in Town and its close proximity to the Fountain Street bridge which crosses over the railroad tracks dividing the Town and affecting emergency response times when emergency vehicles must otherwise wait at railroad crossings for trains to pass.

In order to acquire the land, the Town worked to negotiate a Letter of Intent with the landowner of the Union Street property, whereby he will gift the Town approximately 4 acres of the land for the Public Safety Building.