‘It Is More Grave Than That’: After Conflicting Findings, Town To Seek Impartial Expert’s View of Former Teen Center Building


Saying the major disparities among recent findings regarding the structural integrity of the former Outback Teen Center building makes them uncomfortable, town officials on Tuesday said that they will seek an impartial third-party expert’s view.

The idea originated with New Canaan’s chief building official, members of the Board of Selectmen said at their regular meeting, and could provide much-needed guidance as New Canaan takes up the question of just what to do with the structure, vacant since July.

“We have got such disparity between the original analysis–which said it could fall down in a hurricane—and then the next one is ‘OK everything is hunky dory,’ ” Selectman Nick Williams said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.

“That is problematic, from my perspective. Clearly, it is more grave than that and I think a third party coming in, at some additional cost, is worth it.”

The new findings are expected to come through prior to next Tuesday’s Board of Finance meeting, the selectmen said, and should cost less than $5,000.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said that Chief Building Official Brian Platz proposed the new inspection of the Outback after his own walk-through and determination that “repair work needs to be done” and the building “will need to be re-inspected” in any case.

“He [Platz] wanted an impartial third party in there to take a look, so that is taking place in the next week or so,” Mallozzi said.

The idea is to “get someone who is really into the [building] codes of the state of Connecticut to come in there and take a deep dive, that doesn’t have any skin in the game, whatsoever, at this point in time.”

The development comes weeks after a fresh review of the defunct teen center—including from its original architects and builder—found that it needs only cosmetic work to be usable. That conclusion flew in the face of an earlier report from a Danbury-based firm that found the 2001-built teen center was structurally unsound, incorrectly constructed and posed a danger to people in it.

Selectman Beth Jones said it would be “great to have somebody who is a total outsider” to the situation after getting such different feedback from professionals to this point.

Mallozzi commended Platz on his approach, saying “in happened in the absence of all of us [selectmen],” and “it’s just what the situation needs.”

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