Town officials on Wednesday took a step toward launching an estimated $1.2 million renovation of the New Canaan Fire House, green-lighting funds to pay a Mount Kisco, NY firm for construction plans.
The Board of Selectmen approved $46,410 to hire the firm—Kaeyer, Garment and Davidson Architects—to draw up plans for the first, critical part of a three-phase renovation.
The project focuses mainly on infrastructure upgrades to outdated plumbing, electrical, drainage and lighting systems in the building. Situated at the corner of Locust Avenue and Main Street, the fire house was constructed in 1938 and expanded in 1965, according to the New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 website. The town is served by both career and volunteer firefighters.
Plans in phase one call for ground-floor upgrades such as in-slab plumbing for storm water and sanitary sewer systems, reinforcement of the floor frame to carry heavier equipment and new wall, floor and ceiling finishes.
KG&D Vice President Erik Kaeyer and Associate Joseph Reilly told the selectmen that each of three phases—the plan is to start from the ground floor and work up from there—would take about four to six months, and that efforts would be made to minimize disruptions firefighters who often must use the facility as a living as well as work space.
First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said there are six firefighters who spend 24-hour work periods at the firehouse.
Fire Chief Edward Karl said he was concerned about what appears to be a reduction in meeting space at the facility under the firm’s plan. The meeting room at the firehouse is used for training that sometimes includes agencies from nearby towns, Karl said.
“We are already tight for space at the firehouse and these proposals to me only reduce the amount of useful space,” he said during the meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department.
Reilly conceded that during the renovation phase that includes restoring the meeting room, space may be tight. Kaeyer said that since the firm’s proposal includes shifting around some equipment, overall usable floor space in the meeting room ultimately will be about the same as it is now. Noting that the town must move forward prudently, Mallozzi said that officials must plan for the actual use of the meeting space rather than a what may be a one-off need to accommodate several dozen people simultaneously.
“You do not want to build a phone service for Mother’s Day,” Mallozzi said.
According to an overview of the project, later phases of the plan include installing a new elevator and creating five new single rooms, one larger dorm room and lockers. On average, actual construction work for each phase would cost about $400,000, according to KG&D.