WINDHAM — Interim Town Manager Barry Tibbetts has proposed spending about $8.2 million to renovate and expand the town hall and the public safety building with little, if any, cost to taxpayers.

Tibbetts said the buildings have inadequate office space, work space, conference meeting space and restrooms, along with drafty and poor air circulation, inadequate kitchen facilities and other issues. He and town councilors toured both buildings Tuesday before a council workshop to check out problem areas.

Interim Town Manager Barry Tibbetts explains his proposed renovations to the town hall and public safety building. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

Tibbetts said the necessary repairs on the buildings — such as roofing, flooring and painting fixes, window replacements and restroom remodels — would cost the town $850,000, without addressing space needs: “That’s $850,000 just for a Band-Aid. Even if we decide to do nothing, you’ve got almost $1 million sitting on the table that has to happen in repairs.”

Instead, he proposed that the town build a second-floor addition to the town hall and build a 84-foot by 65-foot addition to the public safety building, which would include office, housing and training space, as well as five new bays, fitness and locker rooms and kitchen facilities.

We can totally change the space dynamics within this building and solve the growth and the needs easily for 20 to 25 years,” he said. 

Tibbetts consulted a variety of studies the town had completed, including a Property Condition Assessment from 2013, a Space Needs Analysis from 2015 and a Municipal Facilities Master Plan from 2015, and concluded that it would be better to modify the existing properties than construct new buildings. He estimated that new buildings would cost the town $23 million, while his proposed renovations will cost approximately $8.2 million.

According to Tibbetts, Windham has a variety of funding options available, including some upcoming debt retirement, an expiring road bond, permit and impact fees and changes to the Capital Improvement Program.

There’s some available space in the existing mil rate that can be applied somewhere else without affecting the mil rate,” he said. “I think the impact is going to be minimal to the mil rate.”

The Windham Town Hall would receive a second-floor addition. File photo

Councilors seemed to support the project, which would require an official vote of approval.

“I’m in favor of everything you’ve done,” Councilor Dave Nadeau said.

Tibbetts suggested taking a construction management approach in order to find a construction company to do the work. He proposed advertising the RFQ in March and selecting a candidate, after interviews, in late March or early April.

Council Vice Chairman Tim Nangle was pleased the town is building for its future, rather than its current needs: “We might overbuild now, but in five or 10 years it’s going to be just right.”

Council Chairman Jarrod Maxfield agreed, saying, “I feel fully confident that you’re on the right path. We’ve traditionally built for what we need at the moment and we really need to tackle it.” 

Fire Chief Brent Libby also spoke in favor of Tibbetts’ proposal, saying, “This is a great option to get us those next 20 to 25 years. I think it’s very sustainable and really is a good solution to a lot of problems all in one.” 

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