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."
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:07:42 GMT
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow. Rivers are spilling their banks, roadsMore >>
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:08:37 GMT
Flood warnings are in effect around our region as heavy rains begin to move through. There is already localized flooding at some of the typical problem spots, like the wrong-way bridge on Route 15 inMore >>
Parts of our region are already flooding and others are bracing as heavy rains move through. Not only is rain falling fast, but warm temperatures Monday melted snow, adding to high waters.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:06:00 GMT
A man had to be pulled from the Black River in Springfield Tuesday morning. The Hartford Fire Department says it's working to pull a man out from the river. They say he got stuck about 75 feet out inMore >>
Vermont emergency workers have rescued a man stranded in the middle of a treacherous section of river in downtown Springfield. More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:02:17 GMT
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed. Jury draw was scheduled to begin Monday for Richard Gallow. He is charged with sexual assault and lewd and lascivious conduct on a femaleMore >>
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:27:17 GMT
Arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job. On Tuesday former firefighter Elmer Joerg pleaded no contest to setting the blaze. Investigators say the former volunteer was caught on camera settingMore >>
An arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:26:03 GMT
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. Derek Niles pleaded no contest to reckless endangerment Tuesday. He got a deferred sentence and will be on probationMore >>
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. More >>