‘By the Time We Caught It, It Was Too Late’: No Urinals in Men’s Rooms at Town Hall


Sightline, space and cost issues prompted the architects who designed the estimated $13 million renovation and expansion of Town Hall to leave out urinals in the men’s rooms—something that officials say they will work to rectify in future years.

Members of the Town Hall Building Committee—a group of local volunteers, including experts in building and architecture, who helped steer the project at 77 Main St.—caught the lack of urinals during a walkthrough three months ago, “but it was already built,” according to First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who served on the committee.

“It’s not the end of the world,” Mallozzi said. “It’s a design oversight by the architects … There is no excuse for it, but they built us a beautiful building and when we went in there, the thing was already built and all the plumbing was hooked up.”

The firm, KSQ Architects, has agreed to provide a design plan at no cost to the town that will specify how to retrofit the bathrooms (there are men’s rooms on the first and second floors) for urinals, Mallozzi said. There are janitor’s closets on each floor that may provide space that’s useful for that redesign, he said.

The men’s rooms include two toilet stalls.

Site plans presented to town bodies such as the Town Council and Planning & Zoning Commission—such as this presentation from January 2013 and this presentation from March 2013—show spaces for bathrooms, including a unisex restroom on the lower level and space for both a men’s and women’s room on each of the first and second floors, yet they do not detail just what’s in the men’s rooms.

According to KSQ, building code requires that male and female toilet rooms have the same numbers of plumbing fixtures—for example, the number of sinks and water closets, where a urinal is the same as a water closet.

Originally, design plans included three water closets apiece for the male and female bathrooms, where one of those in the men’s room was to be a urinal, according to KSQ.

However, the budget determined that each bathroom would have just two water closets, and as a result, when the door to the lobbies was open, the sightline looked directly to the urinal from outside the bathrooms, the architects say. It was not possible to screen it off under building codes, they say.

Mallozzi said it was left to architects to design the bathrooms themselves, and that nothing was flagged until after-the-fact.

“I will be the first one to admit: I never checked how many urinals there were in the bathroom,” Mallozzi said. “I was more worried about the space of the boardrooms and I think the building committee is very occupied with ADA issues, but quite frankly we left it up to the architects to build the right bathroom.”

The first phase of the move back into Town Hall—including the Town Clerk, Tax Assessor, Tax Collector, Fire Marshall, Department of Public Works and Registrars of Voters—was completed last month. Two more phases—moving some of the departments now located on the second floor of the Police Department, and finally those municipal departments now located at Irwin Park—are still to come.

Mallozzi noted that there are no urinals in the men’s rooms at the Police Department (the original 1927 New Canaan High School), and there also are no urinals in the bathrooms at Irwin Park.

“Of all the things that could have gone wrong in designing this Town Hall, there’s a lot worse things they could have forgotten,” Mallozzi said.

“What is important to me is that they [the bathrooms] are ADA-compliant, that there are baby changing areas in both the men’s and women’s on every level. Those are the things that are really important for general public use, in my opinion.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with information from KSQ.

5 thoughts on “‘By the Time We Caught It, It Was Too Late’: No Urinals in Men’s Rooms at Town Hall

  1. Bigger miss: no geothermal heat, no solar; both omissions that’ll cost the town $$$ year after year after year in higher operating costs. I’m glad the town offices have been updated and are more welcoming, but I feel we really missed the boat on energy savings.

  2. Just glad that the town pumped the breaks on the Saxe School addition. It shows you what can happen when you rush a job.

    Maybe the architect was trying to move the town to the current
    politically correct rage of gender neutral bathrooms. If not, maybe
    an idea that the town should consider embracing if they want to be
    ahead of the curve.

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