Town Employees–and 1st Sel.–Vacate Town Hall While Building Problems are Addressed
During her presentation at the Board of Finance Town Budget Public Hearing, first selectwomen Lynne Vanderslice briefly discussed the status of the proposed renovations at the Police Station and the Town Hall Campus. As she spoke, she made an offhand comment regarding the condition of the building where her office and the HR and Administration director, IS director and assistant’s office are.
“All those buildings are in bad shape. I will tell you, since you’re going to call my office tomorrow, there’s a message that the area where I am, that’s closed for the next few days and through the weekend as we do some work there–some duct work and ceiling tiles. We’re doing that through the whole building because of some problems that we just recently had. So we continue to pour money into Town Hall and the Annex, unless we address the overall issues.”
Now comes news that, while the work is conducted, Vanderslice and other town employees who work in her section of the building will have to vacate the building–furniture, files and all belongings. Work is being done now, rather than wait until any possible building renovations can be done because problems with the condition of the building are more extensive than originally thought.
“Testing has been performed, yet the nature of the issues were such that it was deemed necessary to act immediately. Tasks include removing ceiling tiles and insulation, cleaning of air ducts and shampooing of carpeting,” Vanderslice said in a statement, noting that they hope to know more once ceiling tiles and insulation are removed.
The testing she referenced were air quality tests. Vanderslice confirmed to GOOD Morning Wilton that results have not yet been received.
Cleaning and repair work will be staggered throughout the building, working section by section and beginning with the left side of the building. There is a storage trailer in the Town Hall parking lot to store the furniture and other contents of the areas being impacted.
Officials are hoping that most of the work can be done during weekends so that disruption to both the public and employees is minimized. Vanderslice said that Comstock will be used as “swing space” should work take longer, forcing employees to be temporarily relocated.
The First Selectman’s area was closed to the public beginning Wednesday, March 28; town offices were scheduled to be closed on Good Friday. Vanderslice says she expects to be back open to the public on Monday before noon. Until then the best way to reach her is by email.
The Finance department has been temporarily relocated to Comstock and are expected to be out of the building until next Friday, April 6. Their phones were moved with them.
However, just how long the work will take is still up in the air.
The entire Town Hall Campus is the subject of a study to determine what kind of work needs to be done to address multiple issues with the aging buildings as well as to expand the Police Station. What was once a study committee has since transitioned to a building committee, and additional members have been appointed.
“As was discussed at last year’s Annual Town Meeting, Police Headquarters, Town Hall and The Annex all have significant issues which can no longer be deferred. Funds were requested and approved to allow the Town to have the buildings analyzed, to develop plans to address the issues and to begin construction to complete the unfinished space at Comstock should employees be permanently moved out of one of the Town Campus buildings and into Comstock. The concept being that it will be less costly to finish the space at Comstock rather than perform the necessary and costly repair and infrastructure work at one of the Town Campus buildings,” Vanderslice said.
Pragmatically, she added that the current repair work was something officials knew was possible.
“Until the work of that committee is completed and the taxpayers have made a decision, we certainly recognized, due to the condition of the buildings, that issues would arise that would result in necessary expenditures. We are addressing these issues in the most prudent manner possible. A discussion, including the nature of the issues, will be held at Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting,” Vanderslice noted.