HULL: New Senior Center Projected To Cost $17.2 Million; New Town Hall + School Admin Building Projected To Cost $37.3 Million

Below is the “From The Manager’s Desk” column from the latest Town Topics Newsletter:

Residents are strongly encouraged to attend the Special Town Meeting to be held on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at the Wilmington High School Joanne Benton Auditorium at 9:00 am. As of this writing, the estimated cost for a new 43,895 square foot town/school administration building is $37,305,766 and the cost for a new 18,208 square foot senior center is $17,264,561. These are the only matters on the Special Town Meeting warrant.

The Finance Committee will conduct its public hearing on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 6:00pm in the Town Hall auditorium to receive a presentation about these two requests for funding. Residents will be able to hear details about these building projects and have their questions answered.

Both projects will be paid for within the Town’s tax levy limit meaning there will be no override of Proposition 2 ½ and no request for a debt exclusion from the levy limit. The projects will be financed through a combination of borrowing and use of financial reserves.

The Town Hall and the School Superintendent’s Office are repurposed buildings not designed for their current use. The buildings lack energy efficient heating systems, lack full accessibility to our population with mobility challenges, lack adequate storage capacity for vital records and lack meeting space. In the absence of voting to construct a new building, funds will be needed to repair and add on to the Town Hall. Costs will be incurred to relocate personnel from the School Superintendent’s Office.

The senior population (age 60 and over) was 4,045 in 2010 and increased to 6,014 in 2020 and is projected to be 7,979 in 2030. Holding events like exercise classes, craft classes and caregiver classes simultaneously is constrained by the lack of function space. Seniors, or their family members, need the ability to have confidential conversations with the Director or Case Manager about personal matters. The 8,300 square foot Buzzell Senior Center cannot meet the growing demand for programs and services.

The 2018 Facilities Master Plan 2018 identified numerous public buildings that require attention. It is time to take concrete steps to implement that plan. A “no” vote will only delay the inevitable and require residents at a future time to expend a much greater sum to address these buildings.

Recognition is offered to two employees of the Public Buildings Department who will be retiring before the end of the year. Custodial Supervisors John Gerhartz and David Flibotte have served the Town for a combined total of 68 years. Best wishes to both gentlemen as the engage in their next pursuits.

School is in full swing and students are once again early to the bus stops anxiously awaiting their “magic school bus.” With daylight hours growing shorter we need to all watch our speeds and be attentive to parents and children waiting at the side of the roads. Be safe.

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