Hinesburg town officials weigh two new building projects

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 11:21 PM EDT
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HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) - Hinesburg officials are weighing the options for two new municipal buildings. They say the town offices and fire department aren’t keeping up with the times.

“We’re really in a space crunch,” said Hinesburg Town Manager Todd Odit. He says town offices aren’t conducive to doing business or a welcoming space for the community. Among a slew of issue, including ADA compliance, a leaky roof has the largest meeting space out of commission. “The town office issue came up about 18 months ago when investigations into a leaky roof discovered the fact that the roof was structurally unsound,” Odit said. “Replacing the roof would probably be a half-million dollar project, so the thought was let’s see what other options there may be.”

Also running low on space is the town’s fire department. Residents voted against building a new one in 2013 and 2014. Chief Nick Baker says the growing population is what’s bringing it back before the community. “Now that we actually have projects that have been approved and anticipating 400 using housing units coming in, it’s real now and I think it’s easier for people to understand the necessity,” he said.

The town has been working with Colchester architectural firm Weimann Lamphere, who has created two options for both buildings. For the town office, one option is repairing the current space and getting it ADA compliant for a price tag of $3.6 million. Though the architects recommend a different option, which includes a 10-thousand square foot expansion for offices and reverting the current building into community space.

“It is certainly more expensive, but it includes 12,850 square feet of new construction and it would meet the program needs,” said Steve Roy, an architect with Weimann Lamphere.

Two options were also presented for the fire department, but neither include the original space. Option one is to demolish the current building and construct a two story fire house on the current land for $9 million or a build a different type of structure on privately owned land across the street for a similar price tag.

“Additional living quarters would open the possibility for 24/7 paid staff in the future,” Baker said. “Right now are in need is living quarters for the volunteers themselves to stay here and staff.” Baker pointed to how staff space was an issue in bringing an ambulance to the department two years ago. “We ended up postponing that due to membership and ability to staff, but even having the ambulance service here would have been very challenging we would have had to move some walls out in the apparatus bay.”

Odit and Baker both hope the public process will play out and these projects will be before voters in the fall.