Preliminary Work Underway At New Police Station Site
Police Chief James Viadero this week updated Police Commission members on the progress of plans to convert and expand a vacant office building on South Main Street for use as a new police station.
Surveyors and designers working on the project have spent much time at the property at 191 South Main Street, Chief Viadero told Police Commission members on January 8. Some tree removal is planned for the property, he said.
The 21,200-square-foot building, which formerly housed employees of The Taunton Press, will be cleared of its furniture, the chief said. The building holds many cubicles that were used by office workers. The furniture will be stored in large containers on the site for eventual use by town agencies.
Maureen Will, director of the Newtown Emergency Communications Center (NECC), is checking on how the NECC dispatching facility will fit into the new police station, Chief Viadero said.
NECC, an independent town agency, dispatches local police, fire, and ambulance calls. It is the town’s 911 call center.
The town has received 11 responses to its advertisement for a construction manager for the police station project, according to First Selectman Dan Rosenthal. The Public Building and Site Commission (PBSC) is reviewing those responses and will narrow down the field for job interviews, Mr Rosenthal said January 9. The PBSC is expected to make a hiring recommendation to the Board of Selectmen soon, with the goal of the selectmen hiring a person by late January or early February.
Architectural firm Kaestle Boos Associates Inc of New Britain projects that police station construction work will start in October. Police are expected to occupy the new $15.1-million station by the summer of 2020.
Plans call for expanding the 21,200-square-foot building, which was built in 1981, by about 4,700 square feet. The expansion area would hold facilities including a secure portal for prisoner transport and several prisoner holding cells.
The town’s proposal to acquire two abutting properties for the police station project received strong support from voters at a referendum on November 6, 2018, drawing 62 percent support from those voting.
The referendum authorized the bonding of $14.8 million to acquire the land and buildings at 191 South Main Street and at 61 Peck’s Lane. Land at 61 Pecks Lane holds a vacant house. In April 2017, by a two-to-one margin, voters at a referendum approved $300,000 in municipal spending for a preliminary architectural study.
The current police station at 3 Main Street had been a farm equipment dealership and was converted into a police station about 40 years ago.
Kaestle Boos evaluated the potential of several local sites for use as a new police station. The architects found that the 191 South Main Street site was a practical location in terms of cost considerations.
The 191 South Main Street parcel is on the northern corner of South Main Street and Ethan Allen Road. The site is 2.7 miles south of the existing police station.
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