New Wilton fire department kitchen and bathroom projects OK’d

A rendering of what the new kitchen at Wilton Fire Department headquarters is to look like, laden with stainless steel applications.

A rendering of what the new kitchen at Wilton Fire Department headquarters is to look like, laden with stainless steel applications.

Contributed Photo

WILTON — The town has approved a $150,000 request from the fire department for upgrades to both its fire headquarters and secondary station.

Fire Chief Jim Blanchfield opined before the Board of Selectmen on Monday night, asking the group for consideration for modern updates to two of its buildings.

At fire headquarters, Blanchfield laid out a request for a full renovation of the kitchen, expected to cost just under $90,000. At Fire Station 2, though a number of projects are on the docket, the “most important” and pressing is updating the existing bathroom and adding a half-bathroom to the tune of roughly $58,000.

Earlier this year, Blanchfield and Director of Public Works Chris Burney penned a request for proposal to handle the new firehouse kitchen, a project that the chief said has been a priority since 2019. There were initially no answers.

Then, Blanchfield said that Burney’s reworked request for proposal garnered some eyes, and the much-needed project was one step closer to reality.

Fire department buildings are unique, Blanchfield explained to the selectmen, because they are almost always inhabited by some combination of workers who eat, work, sleep and stay extended periods of time around hazardous materials. There is also the issue of germs, pushed to the forefront of the department’s consciousness by the pandemic.

Due to this, the kitchen is being planned to feature all stainless steel appliances, Blanchfield said. He deemed this feature to be “important” to slow the spread of germs in the department. First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice acknowledged that the selectmen have discussed illnesses spreading through the fire station before, as a result of job requirements involving going into the field to help those sick or under duress.

A fire department building “should last 50 years,” the fire chief said, adding that the plan is for the new kitchen to be designed to “last a long time.”

At Fire Station 2, the focus is on the bathroom.

The department is looking to expand the old showers and make them larger. In addition, the full makeover would include a new vanity and faucet, floor, a fresh coat of paint and updated lighting. The locker room area would also be earmarked for new flooring and paint.

A second bathroom would also be built where the current radio room sits.

“All in all, a lot of work went in to making the costs manageable,” Blanchfield said of the process. His presentation suggested that the funds could be made available through the town’s real estate fund.

Vanderslice and her fellow selectmen approved the $150,000 allocation and gave the thumbs up for the Wilton Fire Department to enter into deals with the general contractors, subject to town counsel review.