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Three major building projects proposed in next 10 years in Wolfeboro

LAST WEDNESDAY, July 27, the town honored its four longest-serving employees in a special pizza lunch, which was preceded by the individual recognition of years of service and the reading of letters from Governor John Lynch and Executive Councilor Ray Burton. Captured here on the happy occasion were (l-r), Fire Chief Philip “Butch” Morrill (31 years), Water Treatment Plant Operator Randy Lampron (29 years), Town Clerk Pat Waterman (42 years) and Tax Collector Brenda LaPointe (30 years). Waterman is holding a certificate from U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte that came with an American flag that had flown over the capitol building. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
August 04, 2011
WOLFEBORO — At their July 20 meeting the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen received a packet of capital improvement requests from department heads, the first step in producing a revised Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the next 10 years beginning in 2012.

While the submission included many proposals to replace or upgrade equipment and facilities in order to maintain current services (discussed in a separate article), it also outlined three major, multi-million dollar projects that will draw most attention from voters.

The first is the renovation of Brewster Memorial Hall, which was submitted by Town Planner Rob Houseman with the "placeholder" figure of $4 million, the amount of the last fully-costed proposal submitted to voters last March. The town has contracted with Northeast Collaborative Architects to produce a proposal and cost estimates for a phased renovation plan that would be spaced out over two or more years.

Based on the public discussion that has already taken place, it is likely that the plan will be different from the March proposal as well as have a reduced affect on the tax rate. One possible change is to follow the recommendation made by resident Don Hughes on June 6 to convert the second floor auditorium area into an open plan office space rather than preserve it as a meeting space.

The second major project, also submitted without a firm cost estimate, is the potential replacement of the Public Safety Building. The building has major problems that came to light last year as a result of a ladder truck accident that partially collapsed the garage roof and a municipal buildings assessment by Bergeron Technical Services that uncovered a number of problems, including structural ones.

The big question is whether to repair the structure or replace it in whole or part. According to a covering memo by Deputy Fire Chief Tom Zotti, "Engineers will be visiting the PSB in the next few weeks. We expect to submit particulars to you as soon as reasonably possible, with every intent of having a proposal in this year's review process."

A separate part of the overall project will be the acquisition of 255 South Main, the former Bun McBride house, which sits between the library and the Public Safety Building. The estimated cost of acquisition given in the submission for this 2012 project is $160,000. The town has been negotiating the purchase since the death of Bun McBride last November. Actual purchase will require voter approval. Merging the McBride property with the towns abutting lots will give more planning flexibility to whatever Public Safety Building project results and to the library building project.

Both of the first two projects have a start year of 2012.

The third and largest project is the replacement of the Wolfeboro Public Library, with an estimated cost of $7.9 million and a construction start year projected at 2016. The first construction expense on the project, $700,000 will be incurred in 2013 with an appropriation for architectural and engineering plans. The library trustees submission notes that a total of $211,081 has been spent on the project so far, including acquisition of the Ida Glidden property next door at 263 South Main and the Feasibility Study conducted last year.

All funds expended so far have come from library trust funds and not from town appropriations, and the trustees indicate that they plan to raise half of the total cost, $3,950,000, from grants and fundraising.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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