FAIRFIELD — Construction is finally underway for a new clubhouse at the town’s golf course.

On Wednesday, building committee members and town officials officially broke ground at H. Smith Richardson golf course after years of planning.

The clubhouse, contracted out to Werner Construction, Inc., will replace the course’s original facility. The old clubhouse has fallen into disrepair since opening in 1972, experiencing major plumbing problems among other issues.

Plans for the new clubhouse boast substantial views of the golf course. While the current clubhouse is tucked away without course views, the new design repositions it to look out onto the 18th hole from the dining room and bar. The course itself will conclude at the clubhouse, so golfers will be able to come in right from the 18th hole.

The new clubhouse will also better serve the town’s female golfers, said HSR Clubhouse Committee Chair Craig Curley. The women’s locker rooms in the current clubhouse are much smaller than the men’s, with only two bathroom stalls for all its female patrons.

The new clubhouse will repair this discrepancy, giving the women an adequate locker room equivalent to the men’s.

“We did a lot to make it much more functional, as well as equitable,” Curley said.

First Selectman Mike Tetreau congratulated this effort towards making golf accessible to all Fairfielders.

“This really brings equality to our golf course,” Tetreau said.

Plans for the clubhouse were approved by the Conservation Commission in July, finalizing the project. Town bodies designated $7 million for the clubhouse, $5.6 million of which will be used for construction costs. The remaining $150,000 has been used for associated planning and building costs, Curley said.

The new clubhouse is scheduled to open on Labor Day. They are still aiming for that opening day, Curley said, even though construction began two weeks behind schedule.

Curely said they hope to lay the foundations of the building within the next few months, so that the work is largely interior — and not taking up the parking lot — by the time the course opens in March.

Tetreau said it will be a huge boon to the town to have a top-notch clubhouse to accompany the beloved HSR golf course.

“We’ve got the number-one golf course in the state, we now will have a facility to go along with that,” Tetreau said.

rscharf@hearstmediact.com