Town facilities director not concerned about excess space
With a number of empty classrooms anticipated at Miller-Driscoll once the school’s renovations are complete, The Bulletin decided to find out if there were any other town-owned buildings with excess space.
The answer, said Chris Burney, Wilton facilities and energy management director, is yes, “but not a lot.”
“The only one that has a fluctuating occupancy,” he said, is Comstock Community Center, “but as a community center and emergency shelter, that works.”
While the center is “used by many groups,” said Burney, “it usually has some space open — especially later into the evening.”
The town hall campus buildings at 240 Danbury Road are “crowded and cramped,” he said.
Burney has an office at town hall and another in the Board of Education building at 395 Danbury Road, so “technically,” he said, “one of those is always empty.”
Burney said empty space doesn’t concern him.
“In my experience, it is quite normal to have some vacant space,” he said. “Some space is always required to be available, even if at times it appears empty.”
For example, Burney said, there is a lunchroom opposite his office in town hall that is “rarely used for that purpose.”
However, he said, not only is the room a “space that is available for use by the town’s auditors, who spend weeks at a time [there],” but it’s also “often a quiet refuge for union negotiations.”
Burney said he also uses the lunchroom to “spread drawings out” since he has no table in his office.
Burney said Miller-Driscoll “was always intended to provide for the needs of students for generations to come, so having some empty classroom space was expected.”
As for Wilton’s other public schools, he said, “there are very few other empty areas in the school district.”
“The Board of Education offices are crammed and at least one office that I know of services two people who work different shifts,” he said.
“The other schools are using the space that is available, but on any given day — because of schedules — there may be empty rooms.”