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Stanford Heights Fire Department that serves Niskayuna and Colonie ponders new station

Stanford Heights Fire Department that serves Niskayuna and Colonie ponders new station

Stanford Heights Fire Department that serves Niskayuna and Colonie ponders new station
The Stanford Heights Volunteer Fire Station on Central Avenue in Colonie also serves parts of Niskayuna Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

COLONIE -- Members of the Stanford Heights Fire District are in discussion stages for a new firehouse.

Officials say the existing firehouse, located at 2240 Central Ave. at the intersection of Covington Avenue, has been in disrepair for several years.

"It doesn't work anymore," said Kevin Hulett, chairman of the Stanford Heights Fire District's Board of Commissioners, after Tuesday's meeting.

"I'd like to get something that's accessible, ADA compliant [Americans with Disabilities Act]. There are no elevators, no ramps. This used to be a voting station, we can't have public meetings because people can't get in here."

There are other problems inside the headquarters of the all-volunteer department, located between a Speedway gas station and the Fuccillo Volkwagen car dealership.

Hulett said pipes have burst below concrete floors, requiring extensive plumbing repairs. Stanford Heights fire rigs must be custom-made to fit inside bay doors.

Hulett also said that because rigs are parked so closely together, firefighters in turnout gear can have trouble rushing down narrow corridors to enter rigs preparing to move out.

The building's foundation is crumbling in several places.

"All the mortar is gone and when that mortar is gone, it takes water in the summer and water in the fall," Hulett said.

Hulett also said peeling paint from exterior bricks indicate moisture in the concrete. A metal step on a staircase in the back of the building collapsed when a visitor stepped on it.

An engineering study completed about eight years ago, Hulett added, pointed out several problems.

The Stanford Heights Fire District is made up of approximately seven square miles from both the towns of Niskayuna and Colonie and serves about 4,000 residents. The department formed in 1920 and next year will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The district borders the towns of Rotterdam and Guilderland and the city of Schenectady. The Fire Department's 37 members respond to about 800 emergency calls -- fire, rescue and medical -- annually.

Hulett said an engineering study completed about eight years ago pointed out several problems. He favors construction of two new buildings on the existing site, with the fire apparatus building located behind the current structure on land the fire district owns off Covington. A second building, housing offices, meeting room and banquet hall, would replace the current building.

Hulett said he is not in favor of renovating the current building, which was built in 1956, remodeled in 1971 and received a new vehicle bay during the mid-1980s.

Hulett believes the new buildings would cost about $11 million, including furniture, fixture and other equipment. The five-man Board of Commissioners eventually will vote on the direction the district will take. Proceedings before the town of Colonie would come later.

"We've had maybe close to a dozen meetings," Hulett said of discussions for the new headquarters.

There are currently no architectural plans or timetable for the new Stanford Heights. Hulett said his plan would be to eventually take literature to the public and let taxpayers know why the new building or buildings are needed.

Open houses would also be part of the plan. And the fire district would have some money saved for a new Stanford Heights.

Hulett said Stanford Heights is at least two years away from any shovels hitting the ground for new construction.

People from the community currently use the department's large meeting room, which includes a kitchen. The Boy Scouts gathered inside the room during a recent Stanford Heights meeting night.

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]



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