Below is a message from Wilmington Finance Committee Chair John Doherty:
To the Voters of the Town of Wilmington:
The upcoming Special Town Meeting, on Saturday, November 19th @ 9:00 a.m., will be considering three Warrant Articles approved by the Select Board.
At the 2020 Annual Town Meeting voters approved under Articles 14 and 15, the appropriation of funds to complete feasibility studies and schematic designs as follows:
ARTICLE 14. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds or borrow pursuant to any applicable statute a sum of money to complete a Feasibility Study and Schematic Design and to hire an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) for replacement of the Buzzell Senior Center and that the Owner’s Project Manager shall provide the Town with regular updates on the status of the project; or take any other action related thereto.
ARTICLE 15. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds or borrow pursuant to any applicable statute a sum of money to complete a Feasibility Study and Schematic Design and to hire an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) for construction of a Town Hall/School Administration Building; or take any other action related thereto.
Committees were created for each project to hire an Owner’s Project Manager, complete the feasibility study, and obtain schematic designs. Each committee has held twenty-seven public meetings, several public informational meetings and provided informational newsletters included with the water bills showing the designs for each building.
On October 18, 2022 the Finance Committee held a Public Hearing on the three Warrant Articles approved by the Select Board.
Article 1 is a presentation of the proposed projects and is for informational purposes.
The Committee voted to take no action as this article seeks to provide information about the two projects.
Article 2 is for the proposed Senior Center which would be funded by the Capital Stabilization Fund and bonding.
The Committee voted in the affirmative to recommend approval of this Article.
Article 3 is for the proposed Town Hall/School Administration Building which would be funded by Available Funds Free Cash and bonding.
The Committee voted in the affirmative to recommend approval of this Article.
The bonding debt would be repaid from the Town’s normal Annual Budget. These projects would have no effect on the individual or business property taxes.
The consensus of the Finance Committee in their decision to approve both projects was that the conditions of the buildings housing the current Senior Center, Town Hall, and the four sites that the School Department uses for school administration is not sustainable. Having staff working in the Roman House, the Arts Council Center and the High School and the West Intermediate School is not workable long-term.
YEAR BUILT: 1958
LOCATION: 121 Glen Road
BUILDING AREA: 20,000 GSF
The Town Hall is located on a former school site, in a circular shaped building
originally designed as an elementary school. It was relocated to this site in 1984 as a temporary location after it move out of the 2,700 square foot building known as the Arts Center.
The Town Hall is not sufficient in size to accommodate current needs of the 10 departments it houses, based on an evaluation of space use for the constituent departments and for anticipated needs.
To meet these needs, the Town Hall would require approximately 9,800 additional gross square feet (GSF) of area. Because the Town is expected to experience modest growth over the next two decades, it would be prudent to account for an additional 5% of floor area, resulting in a total projected program need for about 31,300 gross square feet.
The building has original single pane steel framed inefficient windows.
As separately documented, the School Administration functions, if relocated within an expanded or new Town Hall/School Administration building, would require approximately 10,900 gross square feet.
Most of the building systems in Town Hall are original and are well past their intended useful life. This includes the oil-fired heating system located within the machine room, the plumbing system, and electrical system. The only exception is a newer ductless split system in Room 9, the Select Board’s meeting room.
The Town Hall equipment is all original to the building from 1958. The heating system is called a dual duct system. There are two main ducts in the circular crawl space below the building. This system is a very antiquated system and is not energy efficient. The system is operating and maintaining inconsistent temperatures throughout the building. The heating system installed within this building is well past its intended maximum serviceable life. Air conditioning in the building is provided through wall and window units. Fire alarms, horn strobes, pull stations, and smoke detectors have been upgraded. The building does not contain an automatic sprinkler system for fire suppression.
Most of the plumbing systems are original to the building. Portions of the system have been updated as part of building renovation and maintenance projects.
The electrical power to the building has been upgraded to 400 amps 120/208 volt to provide for the additional load in the building but the individual offices have minimal outlets to use for updated equipment, computers, and copiers.
There is limited handicapped accessibility in the building interior.
Any additions or renovations that are valued 30% or higher than the assessed value will trigger significant building code upgrades including accessibility and fire suppression.
LOCATION: 161 Church Street
YEAR BUILT: 1900
BUILDING AREA: 4,498 GSF
This former residence has been adaptively reused as offices for portions of the School Department Administration. The existing space is not large enough to accommodate the full extent of the School Administration staff and functions, which require a building area with square footage over twice the square footage currently available.
The School Department staff is housed in 4 separate buildings making it inefficient. Other deficiencies include insufficient storage for records, no handicap access into any part of the building, extremely limited meeting spaces and inadequate parking spaces.
The electrical systems for the Roman House are functioning but are in fair to poor condition. Some electrical upgrades have been added with minimal outlets throughout the building.
The bathrooms are residential type plumbing fixtures which consist of floor mounted, tank type water closets and wall hung or countertop lavatories.
There is no sewage or septic system connected to the building. Instead, it relies on a tight tank for sewage which needs to be pumped frequently.
The building does not contain an automatic sprinkler system.
LOCATION: 15 School Street
YEAR BUILT: 1935
BUILDING AREA: 8,308 SF
The Buzzell Senior Center Building was constructed in 1935 and is located within a former school building. Currently the facility use is limited due to space constraints. The facility offers many programs that are especially difficult to accommodate. Parking is also limited especially during special functions. Based upon current and projected needs the proposed senior center will be a 18,800 square foot facility with approximately 84 parking spaces.
Wilmington’s senior population (defined as age 60 and over) has increased steadily based upon U.S. Census information. In 2000 there 3,136 seniors living in Wilmington. The number of seniors increased to 4,045 in 2010 and the 2020 census counts residents age 60 and older at 6,014. The projected senior population in 2030 is 7,979. Wilmington’s senior population has increased by over 91% since 2000 with continue growth predicted.
The building has limited access throughout which includes the basement workshop and the attic for storage. Due to minimal storage in the building an outside shed is required. Electrical service, HVAC, and plumbing systems are in fair condition having exceeded their maximum serviceable life.
The steam boiler has been replaced. It provides low pressure steam heat fueled by #2 oil throughout the building to heating units that are original to the building. The electrical service is rated at 200-amp, 120/240 volt, 1 phase, 3 wire and is located in the basement.
Existing fire alarm system consists of a control panel, with ADA compliant horn/strobes, heat detectors and pull stations. The building does not contain an automatic sprinkler system.
Any additions or renovations that are valued 30% or higher than the assessed value will trigger building code upgrades for access and fire suppression.
Please take this information into consideration when you cast your vote at the Special Town Meeting.
John F. Doherty, Chair
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