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Editorial: New facility shows Devens prioritizes zone’s public safety

Subsequent to its ground-breaking in October, the project, which has a summer 2025 completion date, will create one facility to house the Nashoba Valley Regional Dispatch District, the Devens Fire Department, and the State Police, which provides police services.

State and U.S. legislators, MassDevelopment officials and Devens Reserve Forces Training Area officials attended the walk-through on Nov. 28.

“This facility looks to the future of Devens by bringing all of our first responders under one roof and delivering improved public safety services for our residents, employers, workforce, and visitors,” said Dan Rivera, former Lawrence mayor and current MassDevelopment president and CEO.

MassDevelopment plans to convert an underutilized, agency-owned building at 270 Barnum Road into a state-of-the-art public-safety center for the Devens area, which the quasi-public agency envisions as a mixed-use community that stimulates the local and state economy.

The building, which previously housed a day-care facility and private elementary school, has been partially vacant since 2019.

Nashoba Valley Regional Dispatch District, which serves Devens and five other communities, currently occupies a small portion of the existing structure.

Once completed, the refurbished 30,745-square-foot full-service public safety building will include features such as a new apparatus bay to house fire and ambulance vehicles, modern living spaces for firefighters, and an exterior tower to provide more opportunity for regular training exercises.

The new building will also feature solar panels and electric charging stations to help reduce the environmental footprint.

The current fire station at 182 Jackson Road was built in 1965, with an addition added by the U.S. Army in 1987 to accommodate larger fire apparatus. Still, it’s too small to meet the needs of the current fire department, with several pieces of firefighting equipment stored outdoors or at other locations due to space constraints.

The Devens improvement plan constitutes just one of hundreds undertaken annually by MassDevelopment, which financed or managed 545 projects in fiscal 2023 alone.

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