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Aug 26, 2014 12:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Firehouse Could Come Down Next Month

Aug 27, 2014 8:41 AM

The demolition of the Westhampton Beach Firehouse could begin as early as next month, as soon as asbestos is removed from the 60-year-old building on Sunset Avenue.

To make way for that abatement work, most of the fire district’s trucks, equipment and furnishings were moved from the old firehouse to the outfit’s temporary headquarters on Seabreeze Avenue in Westhampton two weeks ago, a move that forced the volunteer department to cancel its annual open house.

Asbestos abatement is scheduled to commence shortly after this weekend and will be handled by Huntington Station-based Boyle Environmental Services at a cost of $55,000, Westhampton Beach Fire District Treasurer Carol Nemeth explained this week while speaking from the district’s temporary offices, which are being leased at 108 Mill Road in the village.

Demolition could be under way by the third week in September, Ms. Nemeth said, adding that, in reality, the start date will be closer to the first of October. Terry Contracting in Riverhead will handle the demolition and site work portion of the project, which is set to cost $193,140. Bids will be taken on the remaining work in the coming weeks.

“Next Monday we’re going to bid out the concrete and there’s another major bid that goes out shortly thereafter,” Ms. Nemeth said. “Once the building goes down things will start falling into place.”

Chris Barletta, of Southampton-based Sandpebble Builders, the construction managers for the project, said the individual aspects of the new $15.7 million firehouse are being put out to bid separately to “encourage local participation” in the selection of contractors.

“Right now, we’re on schedule to start the demolition here in the fall. We’re starting to mobilize the site by disconnecting the utilities and that kind of stuff,” Mr. Barletta said, adding that an excavator will be used to dismantle the old firehouse. “But we’re not going to do any kind of work until after Labor Day.”

Mr. Barletta said the fire district still needs for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to sign off on the construction of the 27,000-square-foot building that will replace the current 12,300-square-foot structure.

He also noted that Sandpebble is optimistic that the new firehouse will be finished by spring 2015.

In the meantime, the fire department will call some 1.5 acres of freshly paved property on Seabreeze Avenue its temporary home for the next 18 months or so, with a garage set up using a concrete structure with a beige fabric outer cover in place of a roof and siding. There are also temporary offices in place for the chiefs.

Establishing the temporary outpost has cost nearly $170,000, with $75,000 going toward the fabric cover, $60,000 for site work and $13,000 for the installation of garage doors. Another $20,000 was spent to cover electrical work, the installation of sheetrock and various other expenses, Ms. Nemeth said.

She added that the fire district remains well within its $500,000 budget for that leg of the project.

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