Published in the June 16, 2017 edition

MELROSE — Mayor Robert J. Dolan and the Public Safety Building Committee announce that they have selected an architect for the first stage of the project, which is a study of the available options and solutions.

The architect Donald M. Walter a partner in the Newburyport firm of Dore & Whittier Architects, Inc., will lead the feasibility study. Walter has over 25 years’ experience and has been lead personnel on a number of projects, including completed public safety buildings in Medfield and Scituate and feasibility studies for public safety buildings in Maynard, Hingham, Nahant, and many other cities. Walter and the firm also have expertise in working on historic buildings and within historic districts.

Walter and his team will study the Police Station and Fire Headquarters and make a recommendation as to whether the buildings should be renovated and repaired or replaced with a new combined police and fire building. They will also consider the issue of downtown parking and possible renovation of Melrose’s other two firehouses. The study is scheduled to take about six months.

“I want to commend the Public Safety Building Committee on their hard work so far,” said Mayor Robert J. Dolan. “A new police station has been talked about in this community for many decades, and although we have done some improvements, I feel the Melrose Police Department and our residents deserve a better facility. Fire headquarters is a beautiful building on the outside, but it is in serious need of updating. And because downtown Melrose is both a historic district and a bustling business center, we must consider the impact of any changes on parking, the streetscape, and the community as a whole. With their combination of expertise in public safety buildings and historic properties, I feel that Mr. Walter and Doerr & Whittier are an ideal choice for this study.”

“Public safety buildings are an essential part of any city and must be built to function well for the personnel they house,” said John O’Brien, the former fire chief who is the chair of the committee. “We need to build for the present and the future, with a public safety building that is designed for 21st century police and fire departments. At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Melrose is a built-up city and this building must coexist with the businesses, churches, and residents of the downtown area. I am confident that Mr. Walter and his colleagues will get us off on the right path.”

The Public Safety Building Committee is: John O’Brien, chair; DPW Director John Scenna, co-chair; Fire Chief Chris Leary, Police Chief Michael Lyle; Mayor Dolan; President of the Board of Aldermen Don Conn; City Planner Denise Gaffey; Firefighter Robert Driscoll; Firefighter Ken MacIntosh; Police Lieutenant Paul Norton; Police Patrolman William Higgins; John McLaughlin; Ward Hamilton (member of the Melrose Historical Commission); Joe Nevin (architect); Charles Femino (former Chief of Somerville Police, current Chief of the Endicott College Police Department)

Members of the Design Committee, which did the search for the architect, were Scenna, Gaffey, McLaughlin, Hamilton and Nevin.