The options are many for police building project

The planning process for an improved home for Wilton’s police department picked up speed Wednesday night, Feb. 13, as the Police HQ-Town Hall Campus Building Committee discussed construction and renovation options with representatives from Colliers International, which is acting as owner’s representative for Wilton.
Colliers senior director Marc Sklenka and project managers Matt Byrnes-Jacobsen and Anthony DiLuzio walked committee members through a number of options that involved moving town employees into available space around town — particularly Comstock Community Center — to allow work on police headquarters to proceed. They also discussed the pros and cons of building a new police station or renovating and adding onto the present building.
The committee is working with a placeholder budget of $12.6 million, which was the estimate for construction costs the town received in 2013. First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice anticipates familiarizing taxpayers with the project at the Annual Town Meeting in May, but voters will not be asked to approve funding for it until November when it is expected to be on the municipal election ballot.
The project would include more than new construction and/or renovation. There will be expenses for things like architectural drawings, site work, demolition, hazardous material abatement, engineering fees, surveys, materials testing, temporary space, and more as well as a cushion for contingencies.
One possibility that was discussed involved moving employees from the town hall building and town hall annex to Comstock and then moving police into the annex. Several committee members questioned spending money on moving anyone into the annex since that building is slated for eventual demolition.
Another possibility would involve moving everyone out of town hall and renovate it into a larger municipal facility that could accommodate the police department as well as other town offices.
While moving most employees out of town hall is doable, moving the town clerk’s and registrars’ offices entails greater expense because of their vaults and their contents, facilities director Chris Burney said.
Keeping police in their present headquarters while a new building is built at another site on the campus was also mentioned as an option.
“This is a presentation on process, not numbers,” Sklenka said as committee members looked at a PowerPoint presentation on estimates of the various options.
The consensus of the committee, the representatives from Colliers, and Burney was that greater emphasis needs to be placed on process at this time with more options to be considered to achieve the most practical result for the lowest-possible cost.
The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 13, at 6:30.