The DPW Study Group, made up of Truro taxpayers and experts on architecture, facilities development, civil engineering, and hydrogeology, presented a comprehensive design for a new DPW to be located at Town Hall Hill. This presentation included full specs, renderings and elevations of three new and two re-purposed buildings; well water options for potable and non-potable water to the DPW and Town Hall; rationale; green strategies and many other features. It was accompanied by an informative “Basis of Design” document, also in the link above.
The DPW Study Group presented their design proposal for a DPW Campus to the Energy Committee (EC) on Monday, July 17 to discuss the energy-savings features and green strategies upon which the entire concept was developed. (See the portion of the presentation that begins at 9:00 minutes into the meeting)
This follows the surprise and, many believe, unwise decision of the Select Board a few days earlier to locate the DPW at the Public Safety Facility (PSF) based upon the “monolith” structure proposed by the Town’s consultant of the past four years.
The PSF poses significant challenges for development of a DPW for many reasons, including species of interest in the woodland buffer zone surrounding the PSF, environmental and water issues, significant traffic and safety issues that have not beens studied yet, and topographical challenges affecting ground runoff water discharge and flow to abutters and the aquifer. Additionally, the lot is zoned now only for the Public Safety Facility and for no other use, and perhaps most problematic for the Town is that more than 120 households abutting the PSF assert they were promised a buffer zone in exchange for Town approval (by vote at ATM) of the PSF in 1992.
Additionally, when the Select Board made its “site” decision, it had a new rationale never previously discussed in public – to put all “emergency services ” on one site. But such a proposal flies in the face of current practices in emergency operations – which centralize “Command and Control” now almost always using virtual software and apps (like VEOCI) and keeps responders distributed in emergencies. This reduces competition for resources that may be limited by the emergency itself; it reduces vulnerabilities a single site may experience; and it makes response time more rapid and efficient. This distributed emergency response basis is used and recommended by Dept. of Homeland Security, FEMA, military, disaster response teams and more.
All of these challenges will take years to overcome, IF they can be overcome. The anticipated delays of 5- 7 years will only increase the proposed cost of the “monolith” from $30Million to closer to $38 million, estimated. And these costs for PSF will only increase once base costs are amended to include undisclosed site costs, well/water costs and mitigations of closing the fueling [gas] station at Town Hall Hill and building a new one at PSF, if this remains the site. These costs will conservatively add another $2 Million+ to the PSF site for the DPW.
In contrast, the DPW Campus proposed by this group can be done immediately on a phased basis (requiring no temporary DPW facilities) because of the re-purposing of two existing structures phased with construction of three new buildings, better site design, and with no community opposition (faster); with all the requested features and functionality supplemented by structure and site design that will improve structural integrity and add no traffic impacts on Route 6 (safer); with 10% more space (bigger); with green features including heating, lighting, ventilation and conditioning systems, shift to brine from salt for environmental benefits, and as well as solar arrays that will generate earnings and meet energy needs more efficiently (greener); and at a projected cost all in of $15.3 million (cheaper, at about half the cost of PSF monolith), with green savings from many features including solar arrays that will further reduce the net price even more, to $12.7 million est., that is, at significantly less than the current “monolith” proposal and with more benefits to the community.
The linked document was revised on July 20, 2023 based upon feedback resulting from the presentation to the EC. The DPW Study Group plans on bring the DPW Campus design and concept to the public in information forums and discussions in August though October to get community feedback, answer questions, and gain public support.
While the DPW Campus design is the result of the creative and exceptional work of the group’s volunteer members, TPRTA is pleased that the capacity and generosity of TPRTA members led them as individuals to volunteer their time and skills to develop this proposal and to continue to refine it for the benefit of the entire Truro community.