Mason voters to decide on $363,000 highway shed at town meeting

  • The Mason Highway Department shed on Depot Road may be replaced in 2017. Photographed on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Brandon Latham / The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)

  • The Mason Highway Department shed on Depot Road may be replaced in 2017. Photographed on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Brandon Latham / The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)

  • The Mason Highway Department offices (right) and shed on Depot Road, photographed on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)

  • COURTESY IMAGE

  • Mason will decide at town meeting Saturday whether to support funding a new replacement garage for the highway department. Above, a rendering of the proposed replacement. COURTESY IMAGE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/14/2017 6:36:39 AM

Voters in Mason will decide at town meeting Saturday whether to support funding a new replacement garage for the highway department.

The $363,000 plan would add a structure to behind the highway department office at its Depot Road complex. The current garage, which was built in about 1980, has been determined to be a hindrance to the department’s performance by town officials.

“The other building is kind of falling apart,” Road Agent Dave Morrison said. “It’s rusting, we’ve tried three different types of insulation and none of them has really been effective.”

The highway facilities were never meant to be a permanent solution. The garage in current use was first insulated with a paper product that fell from the ceiling when exposed to moisture. The office building is a former insurance office the town bought for $100 and had shipped to the site.

If it clears town meeting, Mason would take a bond to pay the cost of the new one, which includes construction and preparation for a new on-site well to be shared between the fire and highway departments.

The plan has been in committee for about one and a half years, and discussed long before that.

“I think the feeling was, ‘let’s get this done,’” Selectman Bernard O’Grady said. “It’s been kicking around and they don’t have much to work with down there.”

The problems with the current building are highlighted by the heating issue. The first insulation fell after six months, and subsequent attempts have not been great either. Bob Bergeron, who works with the department and was a Mason firefighter for 40 years, said icicles can be seen on the inside of the building, and that it took a tank of heating oil per week to warm. The cost was prohibitive.

Mostly, heat is essential for storing sand trucks. The highway department loads sanders in advance of storms to work more quickly, but the sand freezes when left outside. Radiant heat in the new building will stop this, and additional space means more trucks can be loaded.

“Now we have to keep them outside,” Morrison said. “It will save time in emergency situations.”

The 60-feet-by-80-feet building can store up to six trucks, with planned doors on both sides so trucks can pull straight through. It has a second floor mezzanine, and room for either storage, a break room or an office. It will connect to the read of the office building.

“It’ll be easier to work with,” Bergeron said. “Easier to keep warm.”

Morrison joined the department in August, in the middle of the committee process. O’Grady said the committee is acting in the role of construction management. The $363,000 figure was reached after meetings with and bids from different companies.

“We came up with the building we wanted and this is the best deal we got,” he said.

The hope is that being able to keep trucks, sand and equipment warm and under cover will save the department through energy efficiency, better use of materials and better allocation of labor time.

“It was always hard to work in that old building and the lighting was poor, so it’ll be great to have a new building with skylights and doors that let the light in,” Bergeron said. “It’ll be easier to work in, easier to keep warm.”




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