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Firm to give options for town office

Voters to begin weighing in on various construction plans by the end of June

JAFFREY — The town has contracted with CMK Architects of Manchester for a preliminary site design study of a new town office building on or adjacent to the existing Goodnow Street property.

Town Manager Dave Caron said Tuesday that the agreement requires the firm to help the town develop and evaluate three different options for a new town office. Possible options could include tearing down the existing town office and building anew on that site, starting from scratch on a vacant piece of land, or purchasing a nearby property on which an existing structure could be modified or a new building erected, Caron said.

“We are currently working with our staff to identify such options and hope to be in a position in the next week or so to announce those options,” he said.

The process of creating a preliminary site design — which is slated to include a preliminary floor plan and building elevations — will incorporate a series of public hearings this year where voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposals for a new town office, Caron said.

“Our goal is to have the first public meeting before the end of June,” he said.

A second public meeting is slated for the fall when voters will review an actual architectural design plan.

Voters approved up to $35,000 for a preliminary design study of a new town office at Town Meeting in March. Since then, Caron said the town submitted four requests for qualifications, with one firm withdrawing prior to the interview stage due to its current workload.

The Select Board approved contracting with CMK Architects at its meeting Monday night.

“Their base architectural fee is $14,500,” Caron said of CMK, adding that site surveys and other related costs must also be factored into the town’s total expenses. “But we do not expect to spend the full $35,000.”

In recent years, the town has grappled with concerns about when and how to move forward with second floor repairs to the existing town office, while proposals for a new town office building were also under consideration. But out of concern for employees’ safety, the Select Board decided to move forward with those repairs shortly after Town Meeting. New support beams, carpeting and floor stabilization cost taxpayers more than $15,000, according to Caron.

In March of 2011, voters approved spending $25,000 from the town’s Building Maintenance Capital Reserve Fund for the purpose of improving handicap accessibility at the existing town office building. Caron said Tuesday that the town is evaluating Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and will move forward with improvements as soon as possible.

Also at Monday’s Select Board meeting, the selectmen voted to restrict dogs from the town’s community fields and Humiston Field on Stratton Road, after receiving numerous complaints from residents about people failing to clean up after their pets.

“The Select Board regrets the need to enact this measure, but we find it necessary,” Caron said.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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