Westborough Town Hall’s exterior would be totally renovated under plans that voters will decide at the March 16 annual town meeting.
A small, rear addition with an entrance and new handicapped accessible restrooms also is proposed. Town officials are discussing acquiring “a little leg” of the former Westborough Baptist Church site, now owned by Shriver Nursing Service, to enable this, architect Brian Humes says.
Humes and the municipal building committee presented the designs to selectmen last week.
The draft annual town meeting warrant includes a funding request estimate of $6,624,252. Town Manager Jim Malloy said he expects a higher figure to reach voters, as “with the improving economy, there’s been an escalation in cost estimates.” Malloy added that having employees and the public in the building would be unsafe. The cost of temporarily relocating will be added to the request, he said.
Project information will be posted on Westborough’s website, Malloy said.
Voters at the March 17, 2012 special town meeting rejected a proposed $22 million plan for town hall and Forbes renovations, as well as a new community center.
In September, residents told the building committee that moving some town offices to leased space at Bay State Commons, and selling Westborough Town Hall, would be too expensive.
Residents urged the committee to consider other options, such as moving town offices to other town-owned buildings while renovating town hall, perhaps in phases.
Humes told selectmen last week that “the main structure is sound.”
The new plans include adding front doors “and create a vestibule for the first time in this facility,” he said.
A handicapped accessible ramp would be built along the sidewalk, he said. The current ramp is inadequate, he said.
A two-sided elevator would make all floors accessible, Humes said.
On the auditorium level, the stage would be removed, and the town administration would occupy the front of the auditorium, he said. The health department and the building and grounds supervisor would occupy the rear.
The health and veterans services departments would move from the Forbes Municipal Building across the street, Humes said.
Municipal Building Committee Chairman Robert Brown said the reuse of those Forbes rooms has “yet to be determined.”
A request for $10,000 for a land survey for the former Baptist church land the project would need is on the draft town meetig warrant.
Malloy said the request may be unnecessary. Westborough may be able to “use some design fees for survey work,” he said. Malloy said he plans to meet again with the property owner to discuss them possibly donating the land to Westborough. Selectmen could accept such a gift, which would result in “squaring off the lot,” he said.