Town buildings considered for upgrade

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BY ANDREAS YILMA

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

PROSPECT — Town officials are considering upgrades to the Community Center and to the town garage.

The Town Council approved Jan. 17 a motion to have Mayor Robert J. Chatfield send out a request for proposal for renovations and an addition to the public works garage, 221 Cheshire Road.

“It’s going to give us a price and an idea of what it’s going to cost,” Chatfield said.

Town officials are proposing several renovations including an extension of a 40-by 25-foot room with same material and steel, concrete walls, cutting existing concrete walls for doorways, a women’s bathroom, single shower stalls for men and women, a kitchen area and replacement of the furnace and ceiling fans.

Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said town officials did a walk through at the facility and it needs a lot of work.

Town Council member Larry Fitzgerald said to do the improvements with a new bathroom and a new break room within the existing building is pretty much impossible.

“In the winter time, if they’re out in an all night storm and they’re plowing and they come back to the garage, there’s really no place for them to go and take a break, take a shower,” Fitzgerald said. “There’s no shower facility down there right now.”

The town garage is 6,400 square feet large and was built in 1968, according to the Prospect property record.

“The top thing is we don’t have a women’s restroom in the town garage,” Slapikas said. “It’s very hard to say you can’t hire a female that is as good as or better than any of the guys at the town garage so we need to accommodate for that and that’s what this addition will do. It will accommodate for a female’s bathroom and male’s bathroom.”

Town Council Kathryn Zandri commended the public works employees for working in a facility that needs many improvements. Workers also need an eye station at the facility, she said.

Officials should address the garage soon because many of the issues are Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues, Town Council member Michael Palmerie Jr. said.

Town officials are also exploring to make a large renovation to the Community Center at 12 Center St.

SAV-MOR Cooling and Heating of Southington, submitted a proposal for the design and build of a new HVAC system that includes the complete air conditioning with exchange air for the entire building in the amount of $630,000, Chatfield said.

Prospect Town Council tabled a decision on using part or all of its American Rescue Plan Act funds, or federal COVID-19 relief funds, to support the project.

“It’s also going to be our shelter so if we lose power for four, five days in the middle of July, people are going to be sweating,” Chatfield said.

The Community Center is 30,675 square feet large and was built in 1960, according to Prospect property record.

“If you go into an old factory building that turned into restaurant or whatever, they have cylinder HVAC ductwork, that’s what this is. It’s all below the ceiling, painted, colored, whatever we need it to be,” Slapikas said. “We’re no trying to hide it from visual. We’re trying to make it as easy, as transparent and as functional as possible.”

Proposed fans to be installed in the gymnasium with the high ceiling would have guards so that children can’t throw a basketball at the fans, Chatfield said.

“I’ve been there at night any time of the year for a meeting and the rooms are boiling,” Town Council member Patricia S. Geary said.

Five people came in to do a walk through of the building and only one bid on it so town officials did another walk through with another bid. The price is a good number as Slapikas estimated the number would have been $250,000 higher, he said.

Chatfield said he planned to find out if the generator can support the new proposed HVAC system in case the power goes out.

The proposed design would allow for individuals to control the temperature in each room, Slapikas said.

Town Council members Theresa C. Graveline and Zandri were not supportive of using ARPA funds for the whole project.

Graveline said town officials shouldn’t be committing to anymore projects with ARPA funds without knowing the status of RFPs that haven’t come back or have been sent out yet.

Out of the total $2.8 million ARPA funds that the town has fully received, the town now has roughly $2.7 million, Prospect Town Treasurer Brenda Lee Martin said.