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Monday, May 20 News

Town to address years of HVAC, mold problems at police department

DARIEN — After dealing with a faulty heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for years, the police department is looking to finally address the pressing issue.

The Board of Finance on Tuesday approved transferring $25,000 from the town’s capital contingency account to assist in fixing the police department building’s HVAC system.

The funds will be used to hire Sustainable Energy Solutions to investigate the problems. The planned work will occur in three phases: planning, investigating and reporting, according to Director of Public Works Ed Gentile, and take four months to complete.

Chief of Police Ray Osborne said things came to a head for the department last summer.

“Water was dripping through ceilings. Condensation was dripping down on computers and dripping down on officers as they type reports,” Osborne said.

In the middle of summer, it would be freezing in the communications area, he said, with dispatchers having to wear coats while working.

“It’s a very nice facility. The HVAC system is just not running right,” Osborne said.

In addition, the department has faced mold issues. Board of Finance member James Mclaughlin said soon after the building opened, there were some initial problems and windows on the west side of the building had to be replaced.

“Immediately in the first year these issues were apparent,” Mclaughlin said.

He described the news as dissapointing and believed the situation needed to be immediately fixed, given the police department building was the “smartest” in town in terms of technology.

“I think we got a potentially deteriorating situation in terms of the lifetime of that building,” he said. “We were planning for a lot longer, so we need to figure it out.”

Gentile said the issues have been plaguing the police department for the last three years.

“The part that is a concern to me is that it’s a brand new building,” Gentile said. “We spent quite a bit of time over there in the past years trying to rectify this.”

Despite the attempts, Gentile said it has now come to a point where a specialist will need to inspect the building and come up with choices moving forward.

“I don’t see the Darien Police Department moving out of that building anytime soon,” he said.

Gentile said they hope to rectify the situation before the problem grows into a more expensive problem.

“This needs to be fixed or we’re going to be talking about this three years from now,” Gentile said.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact

.com, 203-842-2568

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