North Yarmouth panel shaves $212K from budget to rebuild Wescustogo

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The Wescustogo Building and Design Committee on March 22 cut about $212,000 from the project’s proposed price tag.

Committee Chairman Brian Sites said the reductions will not compromise the project’s integrity.

The potential $3.88 million cost of the reconstruction of Wescustogo Hall and an adjoining renovated North Yarmouth Memorial School concerned some residents at a March 15 forum, leading the panel a week later to take another look at reducing expenses.

The revised $3.67 million project – to be voted on at a town referendum June 12 – will now go to the Select Board, which must decide the ballot language and have it to Town Clerk Debbie Grover by April 4. A public hearing on the warrant article must be held at least 10 days before the June vote.

Fire destroyed the former Grange on Route 115 in 2013. Parking limitations at that site, which neighbors the Village Green, largely led the town to explore the former NYMS property – which School Administrative District 51 closed and transferred to the town in 2014 – as an alternate location.

Barrett Made, a Portland-based design and build firm, is working with the town to design a community center composed of a partly-demolished NYMS, and a new Wescustogo connected through a lobby, viewable from the corner of Memorial Highway (Route 9) and Parsonage Road.

A 3D animation showing the exterior and interior of the complex can be seen at northyarmouth.org.

The town would demolish much of the 42-year-old school building, and preserve and renovate the stage, gym and kitchen area, which together measure about 4,150 square feet. The backstage area would be converted to a community room, and the hallway running alongside would be refurbished and opened up with new windows.

Entry to the building would be through an approximately 1,200-square-foot lobby. The new Wescustogo would be about 4,500 square feet and fit about 300 people, and able to be divided off into three distinct areas via sliding partitions to facilitate separate activities at the same time.

“We went through the process of value engineering the size of the building based on capacity … so there were areas like that that we couldn’t trim anymore,” Sites said in an interview Monday. “We basically trimmed everything off the existing structure that we could without intruding on the structural integrity of the existing gym.”

Once reducing building sizes was taken off the table, these were the alternates that we were left with,” Sites added.

Deciding among a potential $353,000 in reductions, the Wescustogo committee chose four items totalling $212,000 to cut: Asphalt shingles instead of a standing seam metal roof (saving $128,000), removing a radiant floor heating system ($42,000), using concrete-based HardiePlank siding instead of wood and metal siding ($29,000), and having bathrooms composed of polished concrete instead of porcelain tile ($13,000).

“There were some tough discussions around a couple of these things, but for the most part those four felt like they were the most natural fit” to remove in order to save money, Sites said.

The committee initially “really wanted that metal roof look,” to replicate that of the original Wescustogo, he noted, pointing out that the improved quality and durability of asphalt shingles in the nearly 70s years since that structure was built made such material a suitable alternative.

Radiant heat “would have been nice to have as a back-up system, but wasn’t really necessary,” Sites said.

Items saved from the chopping block include insulation from the roof and walls of the existing building ($71,000), reducing site lighting (nearly $32,000), a new gym floor (nearly $17,000), and cutting the bathroom fixture count (nearly $13,000).

Remaining insurance funds from the original Wescustogo, totaling $431,000, would be subtracted from the project cost, as well as $250,000 to be obtained through fundraising. The nearly $3 million balance would come from borrowing.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

This visual is part of an animated 3D walk-through of a future Wescustogo Hall, right, in North Yarmouth.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.