Committee: Renovation of Police Station Could Start Around Thanksgiving, Wrap Up in Fall of ‘25

Work for the widely anticipated, estimated $27.5 million renovation of the New Canaan Police Department should get underway around Thanksgiving and wrap up in the fall of 2025, so long as other moving parts fall into place, officials said last week. The key to the project’s timing is preparing the longtime home of the Board of Education downtown as a temporary police headquarters, members of the Police Department Building Committee told the Town Council during its regular meeting Wednesday. For that to happen, the school board must move out its Locust Avenue offices and into a newly town-owned Elm Street building, Committee members said. “It really does matter,” Committee Chair Bill Walbert told the Town Council at its regular meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “If we don’t get the Board of Ed out, into their new space, and they sign off on their new space, then we can’t fit out that Locust Avenue space for the police.

New Sugar Maples on Farm Road To Screen Rooftop Equipment at Saxe Addition

Officials soon will plant four sugar maple trees on Farm Road alongside the new addition to Saxe Middle School, an effort to create the feel of a tree-lined neighborhood street. The 4-inch caliper sugar maples will replace some of the trees that came down on Farm to make way for the new construction at Saxe, according to Tree Warden Bob Horan. Horan told members of the Board of Selectmen at their most recent meeting that he met with Saxe Building Committee Chairman Penny Rashin and Vice Chairman Jim Beall, and that the trees “will hide the building to some extent especially the equipment up on the roof.”

“And I think it will look nice,” Horan said at the selectmen meeting, held at Town Hall. “It’s a continued effort to make some of these streets look nice.”

Funds for the plantings will come from the Board of Education, Horan said. (The school board signs off on the work though funds come from the town-approved Saxe Building Committee budget, officials said.)

Selectman Nick Williams asked whether the sugar maples are expected to create a “tree screen” on Farm Road.

‘This Moment Marks the End of Two Years of Planning’: Officials Break Ground on Saxe Middle School Project

About 30 minutes after the final class of this academic year on Thursday afternoon, town and district officials gathered on the lawn near the northwest corner of the Saxe Middle School campus for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the facility’s widely anticipated renovation and expansion. Penny Rashin, chairman of the Saxe Building Committee—a group of volunteers who initially had signed up for a far smaller project, after PCBs turned up 18 months ago in the school’s auditorium—told about 50 kids and grownups who attended the ceremony that “this moment marks the end of two years of planning for the Saxe Middle School project.”

“This project is going to relieve space constraints at the school, provide a renovated auditorium and provide classroom spaces that the students sorely need to get the terrific curriculum that is delivered at the school,” Rashin said on a humid, overcast afternoon. The project includes the renovation of the 59-year-old auditorium at Saxe, as well as a “right-sizing” of music rooms that a building committee immediately identified as a need, and a 12-room addition that emerged a few months later to address rapidly rising enrollment at the overcrowded middle school. New Canaan’s public funding bodies, the Town Council and Board of Finance, each unanimously supported the project following well-attended public hearings last fall, at which dozens of galvanized parents and other residents, including some students, spoke out in favor of it. Rashin said construction would commence this month and continue through the fall of 2017, under a phased plan that will not disrupt Saxe’s curriculum for students.

‘Thank You, Thank You, Thank You’: Town Council Approves Saxe Building Project 12-0

The Town Council on Monday night unanimously approved the proposed $18.6 million building project at Saxe Middle School, a widely anticipated vote that officially kickstarts a timetable that should see construction start in June and finish by the start of the 2017-18 school year. The 12-0 vote will trigger a bond issuance to pay for a project that has galvanized many parents, students, teachers and other advocates who have said the renovation and expansion of Saxe are needed to accommodate “slow and steady” growth that’s already overburdening the Farm Road school. Town Council Vice Chairman Steve Karl said he was “very proud” of New Canaan for undergoing the lengthy and in-depth process of studying the project and indebted to the “amazing committee of volunteers” on the Saxe Building Committee, including Chairman Penny Rashin and Jim Beall. “Through the meetings and approvals, you are talking about Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Board of Ed, Planning & Zoning, Town Council—you start talking about those meetings and then the great meetings we have had with the public outpouring and input into this project, and as a community that’s what you want,” Karl told about 25 people gathered in the Town Meeting Room for the council’s special meeting. “You want people involved.