SHAFTSBURY -- Select Board members discussed necessary maintenance at Cole Hall during their regular meeting this week, echoing some discussion from previous years.
The location of Shaftsbury’s town offices since 1973, the building on Buck Hill Road originally housed a Universalist church when built in 1834. Recent work over the past few years has included roof repairs and new insulated window fittings; but looking around the room during their meeting Monday, board members spied many more potential repairs.
Board member Karen Mellinger began by referencing the imminent construction of a new town garage, which the town will bond, so she said she wasn’t anticipating a large, bonded project for Cole Hall.
"I just wonder if we shouldn’t be spending some maintenance (on Cole Hall)," she said, referencing frayed carpeting held down with duct tape, and popped-up linoleum tiles.
Board member Craig Bruder pointed to similar discussions during the previous two budgeting seasons, and agreed renovations should be a priority. "Again, just in this room, some minor repairs and a coat of paint ... would do wonders for the appearance of this facility," Bruder said, acknowledging more extensive repairs were warranted.
Board President Lon McClintock characterized a new coat of paint as "still just putting lipstick on a pig," and he said if the town was going to make a concerted effort, the renovations should also deal with record-keeping concerns, where file cabinets have sprouted to create delineated spaces in the one-room space on the second floor where public meetings are held.
Mellinger said previous rough estimates came in at approximately $11,000 to repair and paint all interior tin and wood surfaces of the second floor space. A low bid to install central air-conditioning several years ago also came in at a similar ballpark, of $12,000, she said.
The board agreed to have the town facilities committee recommit to prioritizing town office building maintenance.
In 2009, the board awarded some $30,000 in work to repair the hall’s roof and other work.
During a November 2007 report to the Select Board by facilities committee member Peter Olney, the current committee chairman, Olney expressed the need then for repairs, and the potential option of a replacement building or addition.
The town facilities committee has moved forward this year with plans for the new highway garage, which will be situated on town property at the former landfill off North Road.