Fire station renovations to be evaluated

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Amatrudo gave a revised statement of requirements for renovations to Wilton Fire Department’s “Station 2,” at 707 Ridgefield Road in North Wilton, at the Board of Selectmen meeting Aug. 3.
He said the 58-year-old building was renovated 25 years ago and converted from a volunteer station to a full-time station used by career firefighters in response to increased demand for fire dispatch on the north side of town.
“It appears as though (the renovation) was done very quickly. Not much engineering thought was put into it,” he said.
The fire department, with the help of Selectman James Saxe and Turner Construction, compiled a list of areas it feels need to be evaluated by an architectural and engineering firm.
According to Amatrudo, the plan is to keep the current footprint if possible.
Saxe said, “The original statement of requirements came with a roof extension and building a second floor. We socialized that a little more and thought that it would probably be better to stick with the existing footprint. I think we can restack that building so it will be more functional.”
Amatrudo said renovations to the well and septic system are critical, noting the well water is currently shut off because it has tested positive for radon, bacteria and high levels of sodium.
“That water issue is probably one of the biggest we will have to deal with,” he said. “That, plus the fact that we have an engineered septic system which has to be evaluated. We’ve heard all different options and ideas. We need to get some experts in there to figure it out; we’re not exactly sure what the impact of that is going to be.”
Amatrudo also said the station has only one bathroom, and while that may have been enough when it was used by two volunteers, it is not enough for a greater number of full-time firefighters.
He added that the doors at present are not large enough to fit some of the equipment coming into and going out of the station.
Other items he listed were poor insulation, non-specific concerns about plumbing, an inadequate sprinkler system, and roofing and gutters that have “seen better days.”
Along with his list of areas that likely need renovation, he gave a list of areas that could go without.
Among that list were the generator, exercise equipment and the chimney, which he said was rebuilt last year because it was falling apart.
According to Amatrudo, there is $90,000 in this year’s budget to bring in an architectural and engineering firm to evaluate the station and make a recommendation as to what needs to be upgraded or replaced and what can remain as is.
“We want this to fulfill the needs of the Wilton Fire Department for the next 25 years,” said Amatrudo.
First Selectman Bill Brennan made a motion to approve the revisions as submitted, seconded by James Saxe and passing 3-0. Selectmen Dick Dubow and Deborah McFadden were not present.
“The goal here,” said Brennan, “is to get the architects in place, let them do their study so that next fiscal year when we come up for capital budget we’ll have an estimate of what kind of money we need and what specifically needs to be done.”
He added that the Board of Selectmen will likely need to appoint a building committee for the renovations.