Officials say tearing down cubical walls and moving toward an open concept was the best way to pack in almost 400 more employees into the National Life Building in Montpelier.
"What we've tried to do is look for the most cost effective option for re-housing the Agency of Natural Resources and this turns out to be the case," said Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding.
But the price tag for renovating several floors and moving around other state agencies to accommodate for the influx -- is about $8.5 million.
If you look around what would be the cost of building a new office space for 400 employees it would be substantially more than $8 million," Spaulding said.
He is defending the plan against an Associated Press story Monday that claims the final bill is far greater than an estimate the committee approving the project had last year of $2 million. Spaulding says that's a number he can't corroborate.
"When the legislature went home, we didn't have a budget for what it was going to cost at that time we know it was going to be less than building a new office space," he explained. He says a budget didn't come in until late fall 2012 -- and at that point it was at about $7.5 million.
When you're dealing with large construction projects that have some features in it that might turn out a little differently than the original estimate, you have to expect those kinds of things," he said of the million dollar jump to $8.5 million. "So I don't see anything unexpected here at all.
Spaulding says the final plans downsize the amount of square feet per person and have modern designs to promote productivity. He says he's pleased with the final result.
"It is not luxurious. it is new, and it is different and we believe it's the most cost effective way to deliver the office space for our employees."
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:08 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:08:24 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>