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Fort Covington officials look for ways to improve town garage heating

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FORT COVINGTON - Fort Covington officials are making progress in their effort to make sure Highway Department workers aren’t left in the cold.

The town is working with Blue Mountain Engineering’s John Carr to get the town’s highway garage fixed up sometime in the near future after Highway Superintendent Gerard Leroux made an impassioned request for warmer working conditions at the garage at November’s town board meeting.

The reason the garage gets so cold, Mr. Carr said, is because the building was originally meant for cold storage. The building doesn’t just have thin insulation — it has air vents in the roof, making it extremely difficult to efficiently heat in its current state.

Strong drafts also blow through the front entrance of the garage, pulling all existing heat straight out of the building.

“You might as well throw your money right out the window,” Mr. Carr said.

In looking for a solution to the problem, Mr. Carr priced out six-inch foam-insulated metal panels for the walls of the building, but discovered that materials alone would be in the range of $100,000. Knowing that the figure would probably be too much for the town to invest, he’s beginning to look into other options as well: maybe spray foam and drywall to insulate, partitioning off the area into smaller heated and unheated spaces or putting on a garage addition where workers could warm up.

Councilman Paul Lauzon was on board with the idea of spray foam but wondered if they could use metal sheets to cover it instead of drywall. Mr. Carr explained that it would be a potential fire hazard, as metal doesn’t offer the same kind of protection from flame as drywall would.

Mr. Lauzon also suggested they should at least move the entrance to the opposite side of the building to combat the draft. Mr. Carr agreed. It’s a request Mr. Leroux said in November he had been making for upwards of 18 years.

Mr. Carr said the addition may be the town’s best option for three reasons, one being that full renovation costs tend to be “bonkers” and the second that as a constantly used building it would be a real inconvenience to the highway department and Mr. Leroux to shut the garage down for any length of time.

The third reason applied more to partitioning in that “breaking up rooms also lowers the risk of fire taking down the whole building.”

Councilman David Russell had expressed some misgivings at the November meeting about putting more money into the garage until the framework was checked out. He had said the building appeared to be sinking into the ground. Mr. Carr assured the board this week the frame is still in pretty good shape.

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