Fairfield BOS approves HVAC upgrades at police headquarters

FAIRFIELD — Officers might breathe a little easier this year after officials approved a contract to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at police headquarters.

The Board of Selectmen approved a $480,000 contract to All State Construction, Inc. to upgrade the police department’s HVAC system.

Purchasing Director James Foley said the goal of the project is to improve the air quality in the police department headquarters.

“The unit that is being replaced is only 12 years old, but because that building operates 24/7, the project architects calculate it as probably the equivalent unit of about 25 years old,” he said at Monday’s meeting.

Foley said the HVAC units being replaced are well past their useful life. He said the new units will be 30 percent more energy efficient.

“This unit will drastically improve the air quality of the police department,” he said.

James Baldwin, the town’s attorney, said the contract had no issues and was satisfactory.

Funding for the project was already approved with $435,000 coming from the capital fund and the remaining $45,000 or so coming from the operating budget, which will be used to cover maintenance costs.

The project came in higher than anticipated because of an unexpected need to replace a return fan unit at headquarters for $40,000, Foley said.

“So, we’re using operating funds to supplement it to keep the project going forward,” he said. “It’s an account that (the police department uses) for maintenance and repair.”

Foley said the extra expense is not taking away from other costs or projects, but might result in some projects being postponed. He said the project will run into the next fiscal year, so any shortfall would be minor.

Foley said supply chain issues have delayed ordering the needed equipment, adding it would come in approximately 60 days.

“What the company is going to do is called make ready work,” he said. “We’re hoping to dovetail this so that, when the equipment does arrive, we’ll get it basically in before the summer kicks in.”

Selectman Thomas Flynn said he knows the air quality has been an issue at police headquarters for years, with First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick quipping ,“Kind of like it is here in Independence Hall.”

“It’s like an oven in here every day,” she said. “Or it’s like an ice box.”