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New stable for hoses moves ahead

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CLAVERACK–It looks like the A.B. Shaw Fire Company will move into its new home sometime in September.

Travelling along Route 23, just east of the Claverack hamlet, passersby have been watching the ongoing construction since last November. The new A.B. Shaw firehouse, a 10,000 square foot building with two connected sections, is going up on a three-plus-acre parcel, where the Malasky Mobile Home sales business used to stand.

The land was donated to the Claverack Fire District about four years ago by Claverack resident Richard Koskey of the accounting firm, Pattison Koskey Howe and Bucci CPAs.

Though the new digs are surprisingly not much larger in square-footage than the current firehouse on Route 9H, just north of the Route 23 intersection, the interior space is much roomier height-wise, according to Fire Commissioner Richard Van Deusen, who told The Columbia Paper this week, a major difference will be having everything on one floor, instead of two.

The current firehouse was built in 1938 and has been added to twice since then. The territory covered by the fire company is roughly a three-mile radius in all directions from the Route 9H/23 intersection, Mr. Van Deusen said. The company has 40 active members and a junior firefighter program that youngsters can join at the age of 14 “to get their foot in the door.” They can transfer to active membership when they are 17 or 18.

The new building, designed by William Wallace of Wallace Architecture in Canaan, has two distinct sections, one for apparatus, and the other for administration. The apparatus bay, a rectangle set parallel to Route 23, is a steel-framed, 5,000-square-foot structure. The administrative building is a wood-framed structure, also 5,000 square feet, set on a 30-degree angle off the apparatus section, toward the east.

A hallway lined with a dispatch room and fire commission office on one side and utility rooms on the other, links the sections.

The entire structure has a standing-seam steel roof, cement-board siding with a stone veneer on the outside with some horizontal clapboards and cedar shakes, according to Mr. Wallace, who said his aim was to give the building a residential character, rather than a commercial look.

The apparatus section contains a five-bay truck room, with three drive-through bays in the middle. The two bays on each end require backing into from the front, said Mr. Van Deusen, adding that the new truck room can accommodate fire trucks that are getting increasingly longer and higher.

The company currently owns five pieces of equipment: an antique truck used only for parades, a big emergency pumper/tanker that carries extrication equipment, a pumper, a tanker and an ambulance used by the company’s emergency responders.

The administration section of the building contains a 99-person capacity meeting room, kitchen, offices, a day room and storage areas. Mr. Van Deusen noted there’s a big pavilion out back for fire company fundraising barbecues.

The total cost of the new building is $1.8 million. Bonds issued through the Claverack Fire District will cover $1.5 million of the cost, while the sale of the current firehouse to the Claverack Library for $300,000 will cover the rest.

The Claverack Library will start renovating the old firehouse to get it in shape as a new, more spacious library as soon as the fire company moves out.

Voters in the Claverack Fire District came out overwhelmingly in favor of the building project and firehouse sale back in February 2010, said Mr. Van Deusen, noting one proposition was contingent upon the other.

The library has already taken ownership of the current firehouse and the fire company is leasing it back from them for the time being.

While there have been some construction delays owing to weather and wetness, Mr. Wallace said he expected the project to wrap up sometime in September.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com.

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