With Southampton Town going from leasing to buying the Hampton Bays Community Center building comes the addition of 4000 square feet of space, and new opportunities.
Figuring out what department could benefit from a move while better serving the community out of the location on Ponquogue Avenue was a main objective during reconfiguration talks, according to Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone. With the public safety department currently split between Town Hall (ordinance enforcement and director offices) and a building on Jackson Avenue (fire marshal and animal control) it seemed like an obvious choice.
For Public Safety & Emergency Management Administrator Steven Troyd, the move would be a huge relief. There’s big benefits to having his staff all in one location, especially when it comes to intercommunication, he said.
Town Director of Municipal Works Christine Fetten said taking this route is better than remodeling the department’s headquarters on Jackson Avenue. The roof on the prefabricated metal building is leaking, and after replacing one of two main HVAC systems earlier this year, the other has reached the end of its life, with a cost to replace it coming in at $9100.
Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said Town Hall is often oversubscribed, so having another place to meet would be beneficial. It also helps the board reach residents west of the canal. Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni said enforcement officers could use the large gathering room to host tabletop training, and fire commissioners and fire chiefs can use it to host monthly meetings.
The space, accounting for almost half the building, was divided into a large meeting room, a handful of classroom-sized ones, and several smaller offices when it was being used by a church, and before that, a bank.
The $330,000 plan is to rework the offices to fit all members of the public safety department, and maintain a large meeting room that will have a movable dais, furniture, and chairs to host town board meetings of the same size as in Town Hall. The floors will be redone, and a dropped ceiling added. The electrical and fire alarm systems will also be updated. Because the building previously housed a bank, some of the foundation for that is already in place. Zappone said there will also be audio and video equipment permanently housed in the building, to negate the need to transport it. The civic and beautification committee, which also meets in the building, will continue to share the space.
Zappone asked the board, as commissioners, to have a meeting with the Hampton Bays Water District, which operates out of a building nearby, to work out a deal to share parking space for public safety town vehicles. He’s also hoping the department can secure a spot in the water district’s garage to house a hazardous material truck.
The board unanimously approved Fetten and Comptroller Len Marchese to move forward with making the renovations and the move happen. Marchese said no resolution is needed because money has already been appropriated. Contractors will just have to fit the work into their schedule. Schneiderman suggested that the pair look into hiring as much in-house help as possible to cut costs. Fetten said most work will be done with companies the town has existing contracts with.
She’s hoping to get the work done sooner than later, since Town Hall’s meeting room will be out of service once the west wing of the HVAC install is complete, and work moves to the eastern side of the building.