Town Hall Project Averts Swing Space Need as North-South Plan Develops
NEWINGTON - A revised blueprint for a North-South Town Hall renovation alignment eliminates the need for swing space while shedding square footage and about $2 million from construction costs, Principal Architect Thomas Arcari told the Project Building Committee last Wednesday.

       His revised plans involve shifting the building east toward the Library side parking lot, moving staff around the building as parts are demolished.

       The Rare Reminder incorrectly reported that the scheme involved constructing a new building on site as swing space, and we apologize for the error.

       The revisions bring the construction cost down to $23 million-before $4.4 million of soft costs factor in-he said.

       When the Committee previously convened, architects projected a $25.7 million figure before soft costs.

       A 22 foot grade change will allow for second floor access to the reconstructed building off Mazzoccoli Way, Arcari said.

       Taking out part of the basement knocks the building’s square footage from its previous 72,700 to around 64,800.

       “I’ll be honest, I don’t know how it happened,” Arcari said. “It’s just shit luck, for lack of a more technical term.”

       And the relocation of basement departments and NCTV to the other levels, he said. The most lower level had a high volume of “common space” square footage that, once shed, helped generate the efficiencies, he said.

       The Committee is in the process of solidifying a plan that will align the building in a North/South direction-a layout that will place the facility closer to Mill Pond Park.

       “I’m excited about this scheme,” said Committee Chair Joe Harpie. “I think it combines a lot of things the Committee has talked about.”

       He expressed relief at having the issue of swing space-a large question mark for the Committee in the preceding discussions-off the table for now.

       “Even if the money was there, I wasn’t excited about moving 82 people,” Harpie said.

       The cost of relocation and swing space was estimated at anywhere between $1 million and $2 million, with more specific projections coming at $1.5 million to $1.6 million.

       Facilities Manager Dave Langdon had explored relocating staff-through modular trailers-to both the Hartford Hospital property and the former State Hospital site on Russell Road. Both could have been leased for free, but the former may have come with utility installment costs, he said.

       There may be some movement within the building, however, with the need to provide staging space for subcontractors, Arcari said.

       He’s looking to the north side of the building as a potential area for that, but indicated that he’d like to initiate a dialogue with the Library about potentially using their parking lot.