- Police Beat
- The Forecaster
NORTH YARMOUTH — The Town Office is closed until Tuesday, March 26, for renovations that staff have long been anticipating.
The town set aside about $80,000 in municipal facilities reserves for the work, which Town Manager Rosemary Roy last week expected to come in under budget. About $42,000 had been spent as of Monday morning.
With the 10 Village Square Road office closing Monday for local companies Woodcock & Sons and Strattard Electric to do their work, several services offered are available at northyarmouth.org: ATV, boat, snowmobile, vehicle and trailer registrations; burning permits; property tax payments; and hunting and fishing licenses.
Some work already took place a month ago. At a cost of $20,000, six heat and air conditioning pumps were installed in the building’s four levels – including an attic – to address air quality and temperature regulation concerns.
Assistant Town Manager Debbie Grover said both her office and Roy’s used to be nicknamed “the ice boxes” in the winter and considered saunas in the summer, prior to the pumps coming online.
The building’s nearly 20-year-old carpeting, both in the office space and downstairs meeting room, is being replaced as another means to tackle air quality and mold concerns. The walls are being repainted, too.
The most apparent change greeting residents as they enter the office might be the absence of the traditional front counter. The modular structure in its place will have multiple levels, facilitating patrons on foot and in wheelchairs alike. Two staff work stations will be incorporated to replace desks that sat a few feet back from the counter.
“Unifying the girls’ work stations into the front counter … will save a lot of space,” and improve the flow of the area, Grover said.
The computer server, located against a wall amid the office area, has been moved up to the temperature-controlled attic, freeing up space for staff.
Employees will continue to work in the building this week.
The project is “long-awaited,” said Grover, who has worked for the town for nearly 30 years, and recalls when the town offices moved into the former house in 2001. “And I’d like to see more.”
Additional office space is still needed, she and Roy said.
Renovations to the lower-level code enforcement office – which would include reconfiguring the open-area space to create four offices – are not included in the project. The space, next to the town’s vault, functioned as a garage when the building was constructed as a house in 1993.
An ad hoc committee tasked with looking into the structure’s needs reported to the Select Board in February 2017 that “poor layout” caused problems such as a lack of space, a need for a larger vault, and insufficient office, conference room, break room/kitchen and bathroom spaces.
Maintenance and utility costs were also concerns, along with ADA issues that required installing an elevator, and problems with air quality and mold due to “air and water leaks in the building envelope,” according to Committee Chairman Andy Walsh.
Walsh’s group found that renovating the building “would be ineffective and a waste of money,” and instead recommended looking to the North Yarmouth Memorial School site for a new Town Hall. But with the town already juggling the potential reconstruction of Wescustogo Hall at NYMS, the Select Board postponed further study of a new Town Hall.
North Yarmouth’s master facilities plan, to which the new Wescustogo Hall now under construction is being added, will guide the town in that capacity, Roy noted.
“We need to keep an eye on (the building) and how we grow,” she said March 14. “We need to be proactive to whether we need a new building, or whether we need to expand.”
North Yarmouth’s Town Office closed this week for renovations, and is due to reopen Tuesday, March 26.