The Southbridge Fire Station does not meet the needs of a modern fire department. This web site will provide information about the building project currently underway to identify the most efficient and economical solution to meet Southbridge's current and future public safety needs.
The Southbridge Fire Station was constructed in 1899 on the site which formerly housed a tavern, a blacksmith shop, and a large elm tree for a cost of $23,000. The station was designed for horse-drawn equipment and manned by a volunteer fire department. The building was renovated in 1940 and 1961 with additional bays constructed to house the department's growing inventory of equipment. In 1989, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As stated in the 1912 Souvenir Program of the Fireman Muster, "the far-sightedness in the construction of this building is well portrayed by the fact that were the needs of that provided for, but allowances were made in the construction for such time as the town should have reached those proportions wherein it will be deemed advisable to maintain its own horses in the department building..."
Since that time, changes to the Southbridge Fire Station have not kept up with advances in fire fighting methods, technologies, and equipment. The Southbridge Fire Department consists of 31 career and 6 call firefighters who responded to nearly 4,000 calls in 2022. Vehicles are larger, heavier, while the size of the apparatus bays has remained the same as when they were constructed resulting in insufficient space for all equipment. The station was not designed to support the modern dispatch and communication equipment or meet many of today's local, state, and federal codes.
The Southbridge Fire Station Building Committee was formed to address the needs of the station. A study was commissioned to examine the existing conditions and develop preliminary designs for a new fire station on the same site. This proposed design concept was presented to the Town of Southbridge and defeated at a referendum.
In May, 2017, the sum of $50,000 was approved at Southbridge Town Meeting to commission a new facility study to address the needs of the Southbridge Fire Station. The study included:
Development of a space needs program for the Department to accommodate current and future assets and operations
A review of the conditions of the existing fire station
An analysis of potential sites which may be utilized for a new facility
Conceptual designs and opinions of probable cost for renovations to the existing facility, a new facility in the existing location, and a new facility on the potential new sites
Recommendations for the most cost-effective and efficient solution to meet Southbridge's needs
In November, 2017, the Town of Southbridge issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for design services from architectural firms which specialize in the design of public safety, and specifically fire and EMS, facilities. Thee Southbridge Fire Station Building Committee interviewed the top four qualified firms. In January, 2018, a contract was signed with Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc. of Foxborough, MA, in association with Mitchell Associates Architects of Voorheesville, NY, to complete the new facility study.
All options for the Southbridge Fire Station were examined as part of the study including renovation of the existing facility and proposed construction of a new facility. The purpose of this web site is to provide information on the facility study process to the Southbridge community including an overview of the existing conditions, resources such as meeting minutes and the final study report, and frequently asked questions. If you have a specific question, please use the form on the Contact page, and please check back often for updates as the study continues.