Revised Trumbull Senior Center design cuts previous plan by half

A diagram for a possible new senior center on Hardy Lane in Trumbull, presented Oct. 12, 2022 at a meeting of the Trumbull Community Facilities Building Committee.

A diagram for a possible new senior center on Hardy Lane in Trumbull, presented Oct. 12, 2022 at a meeting of the Trumbull Community Facilities Building Committee.

Contributed/Thomas Arcari, QA+M Architecture

TRUMBULL — Thomas Arcari doesn't think he can go any smaller.

On Wednesday night, during a meeting of the Community Facilities Building Committee, Arcari, principal with Farmington-based QA+M Architecture, presented a new plan for a proposed senior center on a parcel of land on Hardy Lane. His diagram showed a 32,000-square-foot facility that would include a gym, an event patio and other amenities.

Though QA+M tried to come up with a plan that affected the surrounding area as little as possible, Arcari said "We've taken the diagram about as far as we can go. We can't remove more square footage without compromising programs."

Putting a facility on the  25-acre town-owned parcel of land on Hardy Lane has been a hotly debated topic in town, with some residents saying its proximity to busy roads, potential impact on neighboring houses and other factors make it a bad choice. Several of those residents spoke during the public comment portion of Wednesday's meeting, including Richard White of Church Hill Road.

White said he appreciates that the town needs a new senior center to replace the aging current one on Priscilla Place, but maintains that Hardy Lane is the wrong spot for it for a few reasons.

 "Build the best senior and community center that the town can afford at this time, (but) not in a residential neighborhood, not on undeveloped land, not on an already busy street with significant traffic and pedestrian challenges … not on Hardy Lane," White said.

Several sites had been considered for the center, including the Long Hill Administration Building, Indian Ledge Park, the current senior center at Priscilla Place, Twin Brooks Park, Old Mine Park and the Tashua Knolls recreation area. However, of all the sites reviewed for the project, Hardy Lane rated the highest.

The town originally was considering building a combination community/senior center and aquatics center on the site, but abandoned that goal on the recommendation of First Selectman Vicki Tesoro. That facility could have been anywhere from 55,000 to 60,000 square feet, according to an earlier plan, also presented by Arcari.

Arcari's presentation at Wednesday's meeting took up the bulk of its nearly two-hour running time. He explained how the plan had evolved over time, and showed several diagrams that depicted the facility getting progressively smaller. Arcari said the location of the building was also moved within the parcel to a spot that had been previously developed.

He said this is just a preliminary design, and many specifics haven't been determined yet, such as how much the project would cost. However, Arcari said that cost for project like this one usually falls somewhere between $425 to $450 per square foot. 

"We’re in a time where the construction marketplace is fairly volatile, so the costs in two years could be different," he said.

Arcari also recommended doing a traffic study of the area. The committee has previously said it also would have to do an environmental of study of the site.

During the meeting, town public works director George Estrada said the traffic study could take four to five weeks. Town engineer William Maurer said the environmental study could also take about four weeks to conduct, and results from the study likely wouldn't be available for another four weeks.

Community Facilities Building Committee chair Lori Hayes-O'Brien has emphasized in the past that it is not definite that the center will be built on Hardy Lane, and that plans could change based on the results of the traffic and environmental studies.