Town Hall/Police Project Proceeds Despite Problems

Contractors have made mistakes on the Memorial Town Hall project but they're being corrected.


Renovations to Memorial Town Hall continue, and while the work will soon wrap up, the path to completion hasn't always been smooth.

There's been mistakes made, but luckily for the town, it won't cost it any more money, construction monitor Joseph DiSanti told the Town Building Committee recently.

But that's not likely the case when it comes to the Police Department's sallyport, which was designed too small and needs to be enlarged. It's likely to cost $180,000, DeSanti said, which will have to be taken up soon at a joint meeting of the committee and the Legislative Council.

The sallyport work will be done at the same time the planned parking garage is constructed as part of that project, he said. The two old buildings next to the new Police Department will be demolished and replaced with the parking garage, possibly by the end of the year.

"All the contractors gave a price based on doing the work at the same time as the parking garage," he said. "If it is going to be done it should be done at the same time because you will be getting a better price."

"We will have to have a joint building committee/Legislative Council meeting," said building committee chairman John DeRosa, who also sits on the council, "and there will certainly be some discussion."

There also will likely be discussion about last weekend storm, which led to flooding issues at the new police department. The Fire Department had to be called in to pump out the booking area because of the water that collected there.

Meanwhile, problems with work at Town Hall have cropped up, including mismeasured granite steps leading up to the front doors that had to be redone, he said.

"Each had to be refabricated because they were done wrong," he said. "It was not coordinated properly."

The circular granite around the flagpole also was cut too short, he said, and had to be redone.

"The contractor has taken responsibility," DiSanti said.

The appearance of the project has prompted complaints from residents, one committee member said.

"I can't tell you how many complaints I've gotten about the empty cement bags and the pallets and the five gallon pails," committee member Jack Kenelly said.

"They have brought in people in the last few days to take the weeds down," DiSanti said. A new fence was erected around the bus stop in front of the building that was recently put out of service, he said, because people continued to use it and leave debris behind.

Inside the town hall, the auditorium renovation is almost complete, DiSanti said, but that too has had its challenges.

Wall panels were made too large, he said, and had to be redone, so it took longer to install than planned. There also is a problem with the handicap lift that needs to be resolved, he said, either by adjusting the lift itself or the floor pitch.

But one of the larger concerns is the room's acoustics, he said.

"I was in the auditorium yesterday and noticed it was very, very echoey," he told the committee. Just filling the room with chairs probably wouldn't solve the problem, he said.

Once the building is finished, town board and commissions such as the Legislative Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission will once again meet in the auditorium, so making it acoustically correct was a priority for the committee. 

"We do not want feedback in the microphones," committee member Al Gorman, who also serves on the Legislative Council, said. "Otherwise, we might as well as left it like it was."

A new elevator is being installed in the lobby, DiSanti said, and the lobby area itself is being restored. 

The cost of the combined Town Hall/Police Department project is $40 million.



Thomas Alegi August 19, 2012 at 05:20 AM
All Hamden building projects have had issues, remember the High School the Middle School the Main Library to name a few.
Don Charles August 19, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Why? simple answer…Incompetent Politicians!!!! With big egos!!!!
S Tadik August 20, 2012 at 10:53 PM
My first reaction to why this appeared somewhere in New Canaan Patch was, "Why are we seeing this"? After I read it, though, it looks like a forecast of what we don't need in the renovations of the NC Town Hall. Note to First Selectman: Just because an add-on project like the unplanned new sidewalks for the Main Street King's Grant Condos is only a small % of a large project, it does not follow that the $ expenditure is insignificant. It is especially disgusting when the overall project estimated costs were manipulated to show one side of the street cheaper than the other for political and power trip reasons. Design by politicians is always worse than design by competent engineers or, in the case of buildings, architects and engineers. By the way, when does Town Council or the Finance Board or the Board of Selectmen get a public accounting of the costs of this turkey? Good job, Emily, for supplying food for citizen thought.
Ronald Mikolinski August 21, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Ron Mikolinski What town in this country has 2 Town halls no wonder our taxes keep going up what a joke.The place is butchered my 5 yr old son could have built it better. No body with any building experience thats for sure.
LINDA September 28, 2012 at 01:23 PM
What we need is the press to become involved in all these mistakes. He can't hide from the press like us. No other way of getting the people of Hamden to change their voting ways unless there is constant press on the incompetence and lies being thrown our way. Maybe channel 8 should be called to finds the mayor.


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