It is really exciting to see progress in the design work for Waitsfield's new town offices.
In Waitsfield, the issue of whether to build new town offices on open land or to rehabilitate a historically significant building in the village was a contentious one and one that sucked up a lot of energy and emotion over the past 16 months.
Good, smart people disagreed on where to build town offices for Waitsfield, but because this is a democracy, everyone agreed to abide by the results. The committee that is working on the design includes people who agreed with building new and people who wanted to rehabilitate an existing building. Working side by side at the table, the office design committee has come up with some preliminary concepts to show people.
The preliminary design calls for reducing the footprint and square footage of the first floor, completing the second floor and lighting it in part with a cupola! The earlier plans for the town offices called for building a second floor with only roof rafters and no floor.
It makes a great deal of sense to complete the second floor at the time of construction. As anyone who has ever built something or remodeled something knows, it is definitely more efficient to complete construction once versus spread it out over an extended period of time. And, dollar for dollar, it's also less expensive to complete the work at the time of the main construction than to wait and complete things piecemeal. Those were some of the things the design committee considered.
Committee members also factored in the cost of reducing the square footage and footprint when making these changes and concluded they could bring the project in very close to the original estimates.
The projected cost of buying the land for and building the new town offices was about $1.2 million – including a 15 percent contingency line item. Waitsfield was fortunate enough to receive a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant to offset construction costs and very, very fortunate to receive a gift of $100,000 to purchase the land. That means Waitsfield could have new town offices for as little as $350,000.
The design committee wants to hear from residents when they present their plans on Saturday, February 15, at 9 a.m. Help them do their job by telling them what you think!