Site plans chosen for Wilton police station
WILTON — Two site plans have been selected for an upgraded headquarters for the Wilton Police Department. At its meeting on Dec. 5, the building committee in charge of the project selected a plan for a newly constructed building as well as a plan for a renovated building with an addition.
Four possible site plans were presented by Tecton Architects, the firm selected by the committee to guide the project through the design phase. The firm will now refine those plans along with providing cost estimates by Jan. 8, which the committee will then take to the Board of Selectmen.
First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice, who attended the meeting, asked if information could be presented at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Dec. 16 to familiarize the selectmen with the project and discuss costs in general terms.
Committee members had been planning to meet with the board in January, but moved up their next meeting to Dec. 12 in order to visit with the board next week. However, Rebecca Hopkins from Tecton said concrete numbers will not be available until a cost estimator reviews the project and that won’t occur before Dec. 16.
“The earlier you can get to the Board of Selectmen, the earlier they can react,” Vanderslice said, adding the board has a sense of what the community will support in terms of cost.
In addition to the police station, the building committee is also exploring:
Making repairs to town hall.
Fitting out unfinished areas in the Comstock Community Center to accommodate offices that could be moved out of town hall.
Demolishing the town hall annex and relocating the kennels for animal control.
Preliminary numbers handed out at the meeting indicated a range of $17 million to $18 million to accomplish all the tasks.
Tecton came up with its four plans after meeting with a working group of the committee, which included representatives from the police department.
Committee member Kathy Poirier asked Tecton representatives if any of the plans were more expensive and she was told the costs for site work were comparable.
After lengthy discussion at the Dec. 5 meeting, the committee voted to approve the two plans favored by police.
The first option, which is for new construction, would place a two-story building to the north of where it is now, aligning it with the entrance drive and making it visible from Route 7. The preliminary design is about 20,000 square feet, but that could be reduced by 10 percent, according to Hopkins.
The second option would add a second story to the present police station, expanding it to about 22,000 square feet. Critical operations, such as dispatch, could remain in place while construction takes place.
The materials handed out to the committee included early floor plans and both options included dispatch, four cells, records room, evidence room, booking area, computer forensics, interview rooms, a lab, male and female locker rooms, a fitness area, multiple offices, a conference room, briefing room, training area, and numerous offices. Both would be ADA accessible.
Both also include a multi-purpose room that can be used by police for training and for public meetings of town commissions such as Planning and Zoning, which now meets in Room A in the annex. This room came under some discussion at the meeting. As designed, it could accommodate 40 people classroom-style and 80 to 100 otherwise. There was some concern this would not be large enough for Planning and Zoning public hearings, particularly if an application with great public interest was scheduled.
The room could be accessed from within as well as from outside the police station, with ample parking.
Facilities director Chris Burney told the committee it had reached the $40,000 limit of its contract with Colliers. Colliers signed the $40,000 contract with the town to provide owner’s project manager services. The number of the firm’s billable hours of work recently exceeded $40,000; however, Colliers is not going to charge the town for anything above the contracted amount.
Colliers was hired to provide consulting services for the police station only, but at the meeting Vanderslice gave the go-ahead for the company to be hired to consult on all pieces of the project.
The Police-Town Hall Building Committee also voted on its meetings in 2020, agreeing to meet the second Wednesday of each month and schedule special meetings as needed.
Information on the project is available at wpdtownhallproject.org/.