Chilmark selectmen signed a $375,000 contract on Monday for architectural design work on two new public safety buildings, clearing an end-of-year deadline.

The Falmouth-based architectural firm Keenan + Kenny will design a new fire station to replace the existing station at 3 Menemsha Cross Road, and a new Tri-town ambulance building on town-owned land at 399 Middle Road.

Building committee member Chuck Hodgkinson said the firm specializes in large municipal buildings and has a solid reputation both on and off the Island for finishing projects on time and under budget. He cited the Oak Bluffs fire station and airport fire and rescue building as local examples of the firm’s work.

Funds for the project were approved by voters in two stages, at the annual town meeting in April and through a special election earlier this month.

Chilmark has already singed a $210,000 contract with the owner/project manager Daedalus Projects Inc. The remaining $55,000 of appropriated funds will go toward civil engineering and permitting.

Approval of the architectural contract paves the way for the real kickoff of the project on Jan. 6, Mr. Hodgkinson said, when the town building committee will meet with the OPM and architects.

Mr. Hodgkinson said the goal is to have a concept design in hand by April 1 in order to ask voters to approve funding for the construction of the buildings at the annual town meeting later that month.

“This was the tightest part of the timeline. . . so we can stay on track for town meeting, ” Mr. Hodgkinson said.

The two buildings are expected to cost between $5 and $6 million, Mr. Hodgkinson said. The contract with the architects represent seven per cent of the total estimated constriction cost, a standard rate according to selectmen.

West Tisbury and Aquinnah have agreed to contribute a share of construction costs, subject to voter approval.

Selectman Bill Rossi, who also sits on the building committee, said if the project clears approvals at town meeting, groundbreaking will take place in October. If necessary, the old fire station may be demolished in the summer, Mr. Hodgkinson said.

At the meeting Monday, Mr. Rossi thanked Mr. Hodgkinson for his work. “It’s a good feeling to have everything in place and hopefully we can come up with a design that everyone in town will be in favor of and support it,” he said. “We still have that hurdle to get through.”