WINDHAM — At the final public forum about the proposed community center Monday night, planning firm Harriman presented a nearly complete concept and gathered feedback to create a final design.

The forum, hosted by the Community Center Ad Hoc Committee, is the third that has been held about the proposed project. A community center has been in the works for a number of years, and the committee was formed in June to focus on the project.

Director of Planning Emily Innes and Principal Mark Lee, both of Harriman, began by summarizing the three possible concepts that were presented at the December forum.

The first, called “critical items,” is the least expensive and features a two-court gym, locker rooms, pool and adult wellness center. It addresses the minimum needs of the community, Innes said.

The second, a phased approach, also has a kitchen, multipurpose room, teen room and administrative offices but no pool. It would be built over multiple phases.

The final, “all-purpose” concept is “trying to accommodate all of the program and space needs we heard,” said Innes. It features a three-court gym and track, locker rooms, kitchen, two pools, child watch area, adult and youth centers and administrative offices.

At the second forum, 83 percent of participants voted that concept 3 was their preferred option, and 73 percent thought the design met the space needs of the community.

The main concern, Innes said, was the cost, which is estimated to be between $36.2 and $39.8 million.

Focusing on concept 3, Lee then explained potential revenue and potential construction costs for certain amenities. For instance, certain facilities, such as leisure pools and a kitchen, have a high construction cost and would bring in high revenue.

Others, including conference rooms and child watch, have a low construction cost and would earn low revenue, while some, like an arts and crafts room, have medium construction cost and would earn medium revenue.

Lee also connected revenue with frequency of use. While leisure pools bring in high revenue and have high use (eight or more hours daily), others, like locker rooms and child watch, have low revenue and moderate use (two to eight hours daily.)

He then presented a potential layout for the building, which has a square footage of 84,800 feet. The building was mapped onto the Morrell property, a 24-acre town-owned parcel adjacent to Smith Cemetery just south of the 302/202 rotary. Harriman has been using that site as a potential location for the building, but the Town Council has not officially approved the site, as some councilors wish to use it to expand the cemetery.

Lee asked attendees to consider which type of pool they would prefer: competition, for team practices and swim meets; family, for water activities and family celebrations; or a hybrid involving both.

“The cost to try to accommodate both is more, so the idea is that it provides more flexibility, but there is an additional cost to be able to do that. What do you believe the needs of the community will be?” he said.

Innes said they did not have dollar amounts yet for the pool cost.

Attendees filled out their votes on paper forms. The hybrid pool design received the most votes with 15, while competition received 12 and family 7.

Lee then summarized Harriman’s next steps, which include presenting a final concept design in April.

Afterwards, the plan will be brought to the Town Council. Later work includes funding, schematic design, construction documents, bid and then construction. Lee estimated that the total project duration, including construction, will take 3-5 or more years starting in September 2018.

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at [email protected]

Approximately 25 residents gathered for the third community center public forum.

Director of Planning Emily Innes explains the three concepts Harriman worked with.


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