New Wilton police building would best suit officers’ needs
While members of the Police HQ/Town Hall Building Committee have been keeping a number of scenarios in the mix regarding plans for a new or renovated police headquarters, Chief John Lynch weighed in Wednesday night on what would work best for his officers.
“As the chief, it is beneficial to build a new facility, which would equate to few disruptions, and then raze the old one,” he said on July 10. “That would be our priority.
Studies done in 2003 showed the foundation of the police headquarters cannot support a second story.
“For our needs, building a new facility, whether in front or to the side [of the current headquarters] would be the best option. We prefer not to be connected to another building such town hall.” His concern was mixing people accused of crimes with the general public.
“I’ve spoken to other chiefs who have that and they don’t like it. The areas are not as secure,” he said.
“We’re in the same complex, so I think that separation is important.”
Lynch said he does not object to having a large room as part of the police station that on the one hand would function as a training facility and emergency operations center, but would also be used by the community for meetings and events.
It does not create the same problem, Lynch said, if it has its own secure entrance, restrooms, etc. With the town hall annex expected to be demolished, that could function as a replacement for Room A.
Lynch has attended the committee meetings where members have looked at various scenarios to most effectively and efficiently provide an adequate facility for police and find office space for town employees in the annex building.
The committee has spent considerable time discussing what role the town hall building could play in the project. An engineer was brought in to ascertain whether a second floor could be built and the simple answer was “yes,” although his report, for which $1,800 was paid, did not include specifics, including measurements.
Facilities Director Chris Burney said what was asked of the engineer was an opinion, not a structural analysis, which would cost in the range of $15,000 to $20,000.
Adding a second floor would be a complicated process “and everybody and everything needs to get out. I don’t think it’s something we really want to do,” he said.
An added factor is that the town hall building roof needs to be replaced as soon as possible. The entire roof — except the patch that was recently replaced — needs to be done at an expected cost of $300,000. The bond proposal for that passed at the Annual Town Meeting in May.
Three options the committee is still considering are:
Expanding the police station.
Building a new police station.
Adding a stand-alone police department to the town hall.
With Marc Sklenka of Colliers, the town’s owner’s representative, present at the meeting, progress was made on obtaining a design firm. Over the next two months, the committee expects to issue a Request for Qualifications, receive responses, narrow the list to three or four, and conduct interviews.
By Sept. 15, there should be an architectural design firm in place. The plans need to be done before the Annual Town Meeting next May.
The committee will meet again in August on a date to be determined.