Study group becomes building committee

The committee studying the future of the town hall campus — which includes town hall, police headquarters, the town hall annex, and other buildings — is now the Police HQ-Town Campus Facility Building Committee. It had its first meeting as such on March 20. Its first meeting was to have been in February, but that meeting was canceled.

The committee’s co-chairmen are Patti Temple and David Waters. Members are Keith Fordsman, who was chairman of the study committee, Jack Suchy, David Johnson, and Kathy Poirier. A website outlining the study committee’s and building committee’s work is at wpdtownhallproject.org.

“Everyone brings something to the table that will benefit the project. Engineering, architecture, space planning, land-use law, police operations, and communications are among what’s in our bank of experience and knowledge,” Temple told The Bulletin in an email last week. In addition, she said, “we are especially fortunate to have the expertise of Chris Burney. This will be Wilton’s first building project to have the director of public works and facilities engaged from the very beginning, looking out for the town’s overall needs and best interest.”

The committee has up to $1.267 million in bonding, approved at the 2017 Annual Town Meeting, for studies, surveys, and architectural services, and to complete unfinished work at Comstock Community Center. Work at Comstock would enable the move of some town departments there from the town hall campus at 240 Danbury Road.

While the community center was renovated and had a grand opening 2016, there is an area in one wing that has not been built out. “Finishing that space and making some adjustments to some of the finished classrooms is the primary work that needs to be done before any town departments could fully relocate there,” Temple said.

At the Board of Finance public hearing to discuss the Board of Selectmen budget, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said the campus buildings are in generally poor shape, and while multiple buildings are under consideration as part of this project, the resulting footprint of the campus is expected to be smaller than it is now.

According to the minutes of the March 20 building committee meeting, it agreed to the creation of a statement of requirements (SOR) that would assess the “needs and goals” with respect to police headquarters, town hall, Comstock Community Center, and “any other considerations to be addressed.”

Burney told the committee the Board of Selectmen is developing a standard request for qualifications (RFQ) which, if developed in time, the committee could use to develop an RFQ for the project by its next meeting. Burney will oversee preparation of a possible list of architects who will be invited to respond.

Also at the next meeting, Brian Humes of Jacunski Humes Architects LLC is expected to share two scenarios he has developed for the project. These are very broad, Temple said, and deal primarily with how revised building designs could fit on the property, Quisenberry Arcari Architects will also be asked to attend the next meeting to discuss plans for Comstock.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17, at 6:30 p.m. in Room A of the town hall annex. If Humes is not available, the meeting may be rescheduled for April 24.

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