Ancram ponders slab and color scheme for equipment shed

ANCRAM—Big trucks and heavy machines keep getting bigger and heavier.

That’s why many fire stations have been built anew or added onto in recent years to accommodate expanding truck size and why the Ancram Highway Department needs a new shed to keep all its equipment out of the weather.

With the long-awaited removal of the Houghtaling house at 2 Town Road near the Highway Department headquarters now complete, the Town Board has decided to go forward with the construction of a new equipment shed in its place

The town purchased the little two-story house and small surrounding property, which also had a mobile home on it, a few years ago for between $2,500 and $3,500 before the county auctioned it off for non-payment of taxes. The site adjoins the current highway department property.

The town’s intention was to remove the trailer and tear down the house to provide added space for highway materials and equipment and put in some trees for screening.

But because the house had asbestos siding, the town found out it was going to be expensive and bureaucratically complicated to tear the place down.

The demolition was finally accomplished for $35,000 in January of this year.

Ray Jurkowski, PE, of CPL, an architectural, engineering, design firm in Hudson, formerly Morris Associates, appeared at the March 21 Town Board meeting to discuss the plans for a new 40-foot wide by 80-foot long, 16-foot-high cold storage equipment shed.

The town has hired Mr. Jurkowski to oversee the project from design through construction for $8,000.

The pole barn-type building will have five 14 X 14-foot overhead doors and two “man doors,” one on each end for entry and egress.

The building will have a wood frame with 6 X 6 or 8 X 8-inch posts placed 8 to 10 feet apart with metal siding and roof.

The roof will have snow guards and the building will have electricity, Mr. Jurkowski told the board.

His plan called for no slab under the building initially, but to make accommodation for the possibility of a slab in the future.

He said a “perimeter board” would go around the base of the building, except where the doors are, noting there would be “no tight seal on the overheads.”

The construction will be accomplished in three portions, he said, starting with general construction, then electrical work, for which bids will be sought separately. Mr. Jurkowski said there is a power pole nearby and there will be lights and outlets inside for block heaters. The third stage will be the installation of the overhead doors done by the vendor and building trim work done by the contractor. The overhead doors will be insulated in case the town decides to insulate the building in the future.

Councilman David Boice asked why the building had no windows and no slab. Mr. Jurkowski said the absence of windows was for security, but that the overhead doors do have windows. He said the slab was not included to keep the cost down. He said a slab would add $20,000 to $25,000 to the price and could be bid as “an add-alternate” to be decided upon later.

Highway Superintendent Jim Miller said he thought that getting some shelter up for the equipment was more important than what it sits on, but acknowledged that including the slab would be better for the life of the building and easier to install without the building there.

The cost of the building will be somewhere between $100,000 to $125,000 depending on whether the board decides to go with a cement slab.

Orienting the building with one narrow end bordering Town Road and the other end facing the salt shed was discussed. At least two trees on the site will have to come down. The Highway Department crew will complete the site work and once started, construction should take about six weeks and be finished before next winter.

Supervisor Art Bassin asked if wood siding is more expensive than metal. Mr. Jurkowski told him wood sheathing is 2 to 3 times more and is also more labor intensive.

What would be the color scheme of the new building? Would it be the same as the rest of the buildings? Would it have one or more cupolas to give it a barn look in keeping with an agricultural community? asked Councilman Hugh Clark.

Mr. Jurkowski said the plan was for emerald, evergreen or dark green siding with a white roof, which will absorb less heat and reflect the sunlight.

Mr. Boice said a tan building with a green roof might be a better way to go. The other buildings are light green with a darker roof.

David Dembo, a member of the town’s Conservation Advisory Board, asked if solar panels had been considered for the new building.

Supervisor Bassin said the site “terrain does not allow for good access to the sun.”

Mr. Jurkowski said solar panels can be placed on a metal roof and he could design the trusses and structure in such a way to be sure the building “is ready for it” at some future time if desired.

Once plans are finalized, project bid packs can go out for advertising and the board could potentially take action on bid acceptance by the May meeting.

The town board’s next meeting is April 18, starting at 6:45 p.m. with a public hearing on the newly updated Comprehensive Plan.

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