Engineer Peter Gibbs goes over plans for a new building in Westport that would house the Department of Public Works and the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.
Almost 60 residents in the town of Westport turned out for the third time to hear the price tags for bringing three community service buildings into the 21st Century.
Andrea Murray of Vermont Integrated laid out a $4,374,877 plan to replace the Westport Highway Garage and Westport Volunteer Fire House with a single facility at the site of the current DPW structure.
Also, Bill Johnston of the town hall committee also announced that their findings determined an approximate $1.4 price tag to renovate the current town hall as a separate project.
Both Murray and Johnston said that the preliminary cost estimates included overhead along with engineering and architectural work.
“Renovating the town hall keeps it in the village, which is something people in the community feel is important,” Johnston said. “We have looked at five different alternatives but have yet to come up with a final option.”
Murray said the price tag for the DPW and fire department building had more to do with the site and its development.
“The building component runs about $2.9 million, so it is very cost effective,” she said. “The site development is about double what it would be to develop the same building on a more flat, less tricky site.”
Engineer Peter Gibbs said the site costs factored into where the building would be located.
“I would like to see the building go further back, but then you are getting into more ledge and more hill and we already have a high enough cost point as it is,” Gibbs said.
Murray said the DPW-fire department building would be a pre-engineered metal building with steel frame structure. There would be office and storage space in the middle and back of the building with seven bays for the fire department and six bays for the DPW, two of which would be used for either maintenance or washing stations for both departments.
There will also be 20 parking spaces at the front of the building, separated from Route 22 by a retaining wall. There would also be parking located at the north side of the building and six additional parking spaces behind the structure.
Murray said the new space is needed.
“The DPW building does not meet the needs of its current function and I would say the same about the fire department,” she said. “Both buildings suffer from code violation issues, space issues and heating issues. At this point, it is really up to the community and the town board as to what they want.”
At the town hall, Johnston said renovations were needed to make the building more efficient.
“Its a building that costs a lot to heat and on the coldest days of the year you cannot heat the building comfortably,” Johnston said.
The town hall renovation could include looking into ways to generate its own energy and heat, including the installation of solar panels.
Johnston said the committee is looking for ways to bring the cost of the project down through funding.
“A project like this meets several state goals, including the preservation of historic places,” Johnston said. “We are aggressively pursuing state funding for this project.”