First Selectman Kevin Moynihan has approved an emergency order for a Danbury-based company to fix a failing boiler at New Canaan Police headquarters, officials say.
The boiler was leaking and emitting carbon monoxide into the South Avenue structure, according to Bill Oestmann, superintendent of buildings with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. It’s one of two boilers at the police station, which originally was the first New Canaan High School when it opened in 1927.
“The one boiler is carrying the building for the moment,” Oestmann told members of the Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting, held Tuesday via videoconference. “We’d like to make this repair to reseal it before it gets too cold. Once we get to 25 degrees or so, we start using both boilers. And that heats both the Police Department and the Ambulance Corps.”
He referred to the brick New Canaan Emergency Medical Services building next to NCPD on South Avenue.
The selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of a $12,810 contract with Danbury-based Eastern Mechanical Services Inc. to do the boiler work.
Officials have discussed a renovation or rebuilding of the Police Department for years, and voted earlier this year to earmark $5 million in each of fiscal years 2022 and 2023 in the town’s fluid Five-Year Capital Plan. Moynihan early last year spoke in favor of a plan to build a new station on a baseball field at Saxe Middle School, and also has proposed moving police into a commercial building downtown—both scuttled.
Now, the question of whether the town should renovate the existing building on South Avenue or build a new Police Department is open. The selectmen on Tuesday appointed a Police Department Building Committee to study that question and make a recommendation. Its members will include Paul Tully, Bill Walbert, Jim Beall, Michael Chen, Amy Murphy Carroll, Penny Rashin and Paul Foley as regular members and Police Chief Leon Krolikowski, Deputy Chief John DiFederico and Capt. Andrew Walsh as non-voting members.
“The first task of this building committee is to determine what we should do,” Moynihan said. “A number of other towns are looking at the same thing. Do you build a new Police Department building or do you renovate what you have. We had actually studied that in the past two years and also to pick an architect, whichever way you go. And as you know the Police Department building is really in need of upgrade or replacement.”
Police have said the building has defective plumbing, mold, crumbling masonry, broken windows, a leaking skylight, a sewer fly problem in the men’s locker room, loose and broken tiles in the women’s and poor or non-existent ventilation throughout.
Regarding the boiler repair, the selectmen asked whether the $12,810 is an estimate (yes) and what is it’s remaining life (it could be 20-plus years, depending).