Like an aging movie star, town hall is best viewed from afar. At least that\u2019s the assessment of Chris Burney, the town\u2019s director of public works and facilities. When asked about the condition of the building at a meeting of the Police-Town Hall Campus Building Committee, he said, \u201cit\u2019s terrible.\u201d \u201cThe best thing about the building is the view from Route 7,\u201d he added. Its decrepit condition may be its salvation, however, as the committee begins to consider a major renovation project to expand the building, resulting in some town hall offices moving to Comstock Community Center and the police department moving into town hall. With the town hall annex likely to be razed, those offices could move in as well. The old police headquarters could be the new home of the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Nothing is set in stone, but that is one plan being looked at right now. Other options being examined are a renovation and addition for the existing police headquarters and a new police building in the same location. Recent emergency repairs to town hall this spring revealed the dire condition of the building, committee co-chair Patti Temple told The Bulletin. \u201cWe had known from the beginning of the study group that town hall needed work, but had no idea what very poor condition so much of the building is in. Understanding that now required us to consider additional solutions for the campus,\u201d she said. Speaking to The Bulletin at the end of the committee\u2019s meeting on June 19 in the town hall annex, the committee\u2019s other co-chair, David Waters, said they are looking at retaining the front exterior of town hall and taking off the back, digging out the ground underneath to build up the basement and then rebuilding two stories. The building presently has about 10,000 square feet of space but only 50% is being used, Burney said. Brian Humes of Jacunski Humes Architects, who also attended the meeting, said there is the potential for 25,000 square feet of space in the same footprint.Town hall problemsThe problems with the town hall building are many. For one, it is difficult to keep offices with an exterior wall warm in winter. \u201cThe walls are solid mason,\u201d Burney said. In winter, \u201cif you touch the walls they feel cold. It\u2019s very hard to keep [the offices] warm.\u201d As a result, many of the offices have individual electric heaters, which is a more expensive and less efficient way of heating them, he said. One solution would be to build an insulated interior wall, which would make small offices even smaller and force wiring to be run up to the ceiling. \u201cNot a great solution and not cheap,\u201d Burney said. The other option is to coat the exterior of the building with foam insulation and cover it with mortar. Neither he nor the committee thought that would be a popular solution. The columns out front are being destroyed by carpenter ants and need to be replaced. Both the heating and air conditioning systems are inefficient. The electric system is as old as the building, which was built in the early 1930s, \u201cand is at best strained,\u201d Burney said. The basement \u2014 which Temple, described as \u201cpart funhouse, part haunted house\u201d is damp and not suitable for anything but storage. The windows are original, but replacing them is expensive and ineffective since nothing around them is energy efficient. There are five different roof levels and four are 100% saturated, Burney said. \u201cWhen we took down the ceilings [to clean out a rodent infestation] there was 12 inches of insulation. Now there is none. We need to do something before the winter.\u201d The building is only partially ADA compliant, and since it technically is three floors it should have an elevator, which it does not. On the positive side, the building is clean with no more rodents. The main vault is in good condition and the structure, including the foundation, is solid. Burney has not found anything that would indicate asbestos in the building but he has not tested for lead paint. It is likely lead paint has been painted over, he said.Seismic codeOne question the committee discussed was whether the building\u2019s foundation needs to be built or reinforced to seismic code. This is a state statute requiring new buildings that qualify as essential facilities to be built to withstand earthquakes. Town hall is the nerve center for the town\u2019s phone system that must be maintained during an emergency. \u201cIt would make me happier to know it\u2019s in a more robust building,\u201d Burney said. Several committee members asked if Comstock Community Center was built to seismic code since it is also designated an emergency shelter. They agreed to ask the architect of the renovation if that is the case.Who moves whereIt is all but certain that a number of town hall offices will move to Comstock on a permanent basis, Waters said, but which ones he could not say. \u201cWe are still figuring that out,\u201d he said. There is 3,000 square feet of unfinished space in the community center and Waters said it would depend on what offices would fit there. It is likely the town clerk\u2019s office and the registrars of voters would stay at town hall because of needs specific to the work they do. The town hall annex will likely be torn down. \u201cIt is not in good shape,\u201d Waters said, \u201cand the amount of money to glue it back together\u201d would not be worth it. Putting the police department in town hall would be attractive for a number of reasons, he said. For one, it would allow the police to stay where they are while new quarters are being built. Moving the police out to renovate their headquarters would be very expensive, in part because of the communications equipment, he said. \u201cThe alternative is to renovate and add on in that location which has its issues as well,\u201d he said, \u201calthough none that are insurmountable.\u201d If the police move out of their headquarters, that could become a new home for the ambulance corps, which says it needs 5,000 square feet. The police building has 10,00 square feet.Next stepsThe committee plans to visit three newly built or renovated police stations in nearby towns: Bethel is finishing up construction of a free-standing building. Darien has renovated its building and built a state-of-the-art firing range. Monroe incorporated its police department onto the lower level of the town hall there. The committee has been working on ascertaining the physical needs of each town department, both on the town hall campus and in Comstock. That will enable them to develop a Statement of Requirements (SOR) for the buildings in question. Committee member Keith Fordsman, and Burney agreed, an engineering report on town hall would be helpful. \u201cWe have to figure out the condition of all the buildings,\u201d Waters said. \u201cWe have to figure out what the program needs are, then figure out who can move where and when.\u201d The committee\u2019s goal is to present a recommendation with \u201cfirm figures\u201d at next year\u2019s Annual Town Meeting. Information on the committee\u2019s work may be found at WPDTownHallProject.org.