New EGCC Plans Presented to Board of Selectmen
By Richard Kaufman
Last week, the Board of Selectmen received a presentation on plans for a new Eastern Greenwich Civic Center. No action was taken on the Municipal Improvement request, but a vote could come during the board’s next meeting on Aug. 13.
Alan Monelli, the town’s Superintendent of Building Construction & Maintenance, discussed the project, which would completely replace the current 31,765 square foot two-story structure at 90 Harding Rd., in Old Greenwich.
“A modern replacement building would provide efficiencies in all aspects of operation that the existing building couldn’t deliver,” Monelli said.
The new building, which would be one story and about 35,418 square feet, would be ADA compliant and energy efficient. It would feature a full-sized multi-use gymnasium with roll-out spectator seating; a 8,100 square foot multi-use event space; three 1,000 square foot activity rooms; and a storage room for gym and activity equipment.
Monelli also said that the new civic center would have an expanded vending area with a lounge; updated restrooms with separate family restrooms; exterior restrooms to support field activities; administrative office areas; interior waiting areas; and lease space for the Old Greenwich Riverside Community Center.
“The exterior building will utilize the existing lighted tennis courts and children’s playground. They will not be touched,” Monelli added, noting that an environmental analysis of soil surrounding the building was performed and “no issues were found.”
Work on the surrounding playing fields will not be included in the project. Monelli said the fields will be usable during construction.
A new self-parking lot will be incorporated with a turnaround to increase vehicle drop-off and pick-up. The town-owned lot across the street will be reconfigured with aesthetic improvements to maximize the number of spaces in order to comply with zoning regulations for the building’s function.
Monelli said the engineering division of the town’s Public Works Department is working on a storm drain solution for Harding Road, that in conjunction with the building plans, will alleviate flooding on the roadway.
The existing building was built in 1950 as an employee recreation center for Electrolux. The town later acquired the building and the 13.22 acre site in 1966.
The town originally began to develop plans for a building rehabilitation in 2000, but in the years that followed, issues with the facility began to crop up which required immediate repairs.
After exploring existing conditions of the concrete structure, other problems were investigated such as space utilization, functionality and accessibility. The lack of thermal insulation and air conditioning throughout the building, as well as a deteriorating subterranean plumbing system, have been problems for years.
The town determined that a complete replacement made more sense.
In 2018, then First Selectman, Peter Tesei, established a committee to ascertain the desired amenities that a new building would require. Stakeholders were interviewed, and a town-wide survey was administered to get feedback.
The committee has held several public information meetings to discuss the project and a list of goals. In 2019, the committee released a Request For Proposal to Connecticut architectural firms, and ultimately selected TSKP of Hartford, Conn., the same firm that built the new New Lebanon School.
The Board will likely vote on the plan Aug. 13 to allow time for the public comments and feedback.
The project will still need to be approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission and meet the regulations of the Inland Wetlands Watercourses Agency.
First Selectman Fred Camillo, and Selectpersons Lauren Rabin and Jill Oberlander all indicated support for the project.
“It’s about time,” said Oberlander.