Moynihan: If Covia Building Is Not Buyable, Renovate Police HQ To Move In Board of Ed

New Canaan’s highest elected official said Thursday that if a downtown building he’d been eyeing as a possible future home for police and school district administrators is no longer available, as rumored, then the town should move forward with plans to renovate the police headquarters on South Avenue and move the Board of Education in there. Asked whether the Covia building at Elm and Grove Streets was under contract, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during a media briefing, “That’s my understanding.” Covia could not be reached for comment. 

Asked what the town would do if Covia is off the table, Moynihan said, “The thought now for South Avenue would be to knock down the rear of the building and build a whole new addition at the rear, with three floors, so the Board of Education would have all the space they need on the top floor.”

The town pays about $300,000 in annual rent for the New Canaan Public Schools’ administrative headquarters at the corner of Forest Street and Locust Avenue. A town committee in December 2017 recommended that Waveny or Irwin should be considered as alternatives. Moynihan initially said the Board of Ed should move into unused space at the Police Department, then targeted the Covia (formerly ‘Unimin’) building at 258 Elm St. as a possibility.

‘We Have To Figure Out an Answer’: Need To Expand ‘Covia’ Building Complicates First Selectman’s Proposal for Combined Board of Ed-NCPD Home

The commercial building at the corner of Grove and Elm Streets downtown—a structure that New Canaan’s highest elected official has eyed as a possible future home for both the Police Department and Board of Education—isn’t big enough, as it is, to accommodate both agencies. An addition would need to be put on the ‘Covia’ building at 258 Elm St. to house them, and that may involve acquiring two properties to the south that are owned by Stamford Hospital, or else building east into the Lumberyard Lot, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. In any case, finding a way to make the 28,000-square-foot Covia building (which is for sale) work for both agencies is preferable to renovating the existing Police Department on South Avenue or building a new one while continuing to pay about $300,000 in annual rent for the New Canaan Public Schools’ administrative headquarters. 

“It’s kind of complicated,” Moynihan said Thursday during a press briefing in his office. “This [the Covia building] is my preference, it’s a modern building.

First Selectman: Police, Board of Ed Doing ‘Walkthroughs’ at Elm Street Office Building

New Canaan Police on Monday walked through the Elm Street office building that’s the town’s highest elected official has said could serve as a future department headquarters, and the Board of Education is slated to do its own walkthrough there during the first week of September, officials said Tuesday. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan has developed and championed the idea of New Canaan purchasing the 28,000-square-foot “Covia” building at the corner of Elm and Grove Streets as a future home for both the police and school district’s administrative offices—a move that would be financially feasible, he has said, if the current NCPD building on South Avenue could be sold to a developer who would preserve the historic structure, possibly for conversion to senior housing. “We are going to evaluate,” Moynihan said of the town’s hard look at the Covia building during a regular meeting of the Board fo Selectmen. “Assuming the conclusion is it works for the police and that the Board fo Ed believes it works for them, we would then during September do the financial analysis as to whether we want to recommend that choice as opposed to renovating [the current police headquarters],” Moynihan said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “A lot of that will depend on what we can do with the South Avenue building, because the net cost would be substantially less than renovating the police building for that purpose.