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Norwalk City Hall will stay powered up in future, Sandy-like storm or no

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Building and Facilities Manager Alan Lo and Property Manager Mike Sgobbo show off the new Norwalk City Hall generator.

NORWALK, Conn. – In a tour that brought up reminiscences of high school, Norwalk Common Council members were shown the new boilers and generator at City Hall last week.

The 800-kilowatt generator, which resembles a truck trailer, sits on a 1,500-gallon diesel tank outside the building, next to Concert Hall. It’s intended to keep the air conditioning going for people sheltering in Concert Hall during a power outage, as well to power all the computers and lights in the building, something the current generator does not do.

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Property Manager Mike Sgobbo shows Councilman John Kydes (D-District C) the Norwalk City Hall plumbing last week.

It was installed by A.V. Tuchy Builders for $589,285, according to the minutes of the Dec. 10 Council meeting. The city received a $60,000 Yankee Gas energy conservation incentive grant to help bring that figure down a bit.

Building and Facilities Manager Alan Lo said it’s quiet, rated at 85 decibels when you are standing three feet away. “You can hear the background noise on the street, louder than this,” he said.

Councilman Jerry Petrini looks at the old City Hall generator, still in operation, with a $3,000 bill for maintenance every year.
Councilman Jerry Petrini looks at the old City Hall generator, still in operation, with a $3,000 bill for maintenance every year.

Property Manager Mike Sgobbo said it’s about more than keeping people comfortable. “If we have power outage, if it’s the dead of winter, then you have the pipes freeze up and you have major boiler problems,” he said. “The main thrust is to keep the building occupied and functioning in these events.”

The 25-year-old generator still works, they said. Both generators are tested once a week.

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The three new boilers at right are not quite installed yet, Building and Facilities Manager Alan Lo said.

Down in the basement are three new high efficiency condensing boilers, described in June 10 Land Use Committee minutes as being 96 percent efficient. They are projected to save $35,000 per year, and an incentive from CL&P of $43,000 was expected. All State Construction had the winning $274,286 bid on that.

Some council members went to high school in the building before it was turned into City Hall. Councilman Glenn Iannacone (R-At Large) professed a familiarity with the basement, where the wood shop had been.

Councilman Jerry Petrini (R-District D) said he remembered when they tried having a smoking room – it lasted three days, he said.

Councilwoman Sharon Stewart (D-At Large) went to school in the building after they left, when, she said, a science lab at Brien McMahon burned down and students were bused over to the former Norwalk High.

Teased by Petrini, Stewart denied “ruining” the building. “We were the good class,” she said.

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Councilwoman Sharon Stewart (D-At Large) learns about the working of Norwalk City Hall last week.

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One response to “Norwalk City Hall will stay powered up in future, Sandy-like storm or no”

  1. Suzanne

    This is good news! I often think about people who are stranded in storms and cold weather in Norwalk and worry about their health and safety. It is good to know that there is refuge, sanctuary when it is needed most. Thank you to Norwalk and all those who worked on this important project.

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