The South Orange Rescue Squad building should be completed and open for use late November or early December this year, Trustee Jeff DuBowy announced at the October 12 South Orange Board of Trustees meeting.
“We are hoping for late November, early December,” said SORS Captain Dan Cohen in an email exchange with Village Green. “We ran into a few issues that caused delays such as pending sewer repairs under Sloan Street.” Cohen noted that the rescue squad and its construction crews were coordinating with the town so that “the street is only dug up and shut down one time.” A few other hiccups also pushed the building back from its projected October completion: for instance, the remains of two old houses were found beneath the site — “foundations, a retaining wall, part of a front porch, etc.” wrote Cohen.
But work is now progressing and Cohen is hopeful that drywall will be completed within the next week “and things should ramp up from there.”
Meanwhile fundraising for the project “has gone very well,” said Cohen, although “at the same time our costs have also increased. In addition to the $25,000 grant from State Farm, a private donor has just come forward and given a $30,000 donation. Those combined with our sponsored bricks and tiles and other donations have enabled us to reach our goal of raising $100,000.” The project also received more than $1 million from developer Jonathan Rose LLC due to the fact that the old SORS headquarters was razed to make way for the 215-unit housing development at Third & Valley.
But the fundraising continues.
“Unfortunately, as I mentioned, our costs have increased as well. The extra excavation, removal and disposal of everything found under the lot (plus importing new suitable fill to replace it) cost nearly $24,000, pretty much eating up all of the money raised from the State Farm grant. It is unclear how much the sewer issues will cost us until the street is dug up evaluated and it is determined how much is the town’s responsibility and how much is ours,” said Cohen.
He added, “There are many other items not included in the cost of the building that we will need to purchase — diesel exhaust removal system- $25,000, furniture, wall mounted computer monitors for our dispatching system, signage, etc. — so our fundraising efforts are continuing. We are looking not just for monetary donations but also items such as furniture, television and computer monitors, computer equipment and office supplies, etc.”
Cohen also noted that much of the squad’s furniture did not survive the move to its temporary location due to space restraints, “and all of it was from the late ’80’s/early 90’s and falling apart anyway… so we will need to basically start from scratch when we move to the new building.”
Due to the delays, the South Orange Rescue Squad has extended the deadline for those who want to sponsor an engraved brick or tile for the new building. Anyone wishing to do so can visit https://southorangerescuesquad.
To make a donation, visit https://southorangerescuesquad.
Click on any image below to see a slideshow of construction photos from September 2015. Photos courtesy of Dan Cohen.