Middlebury town buildings to throw open their new doors

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury officials have scheduled open house celebrations for the new town offices and recreation facility, and have ordered an environmental assessment of the current municipal building/gym property at 94 Main St. in anticipation of demolishing those structures this June.
It was in May of 2014 that Middlebury residents affirmed their approval of a $6.5 million plan to build a new, 9,400-square-foot town office building at 77 Main St. and a new, 11,500-square-foot recreation facility off Creek Road. The plan also called for the town to convey the current town office/gym property to Middlebury College, along with another town-owned parcel at 6 Cross St. The college agreed to transform a cleared 94 Main St. parcel into a public park and relocate its Osborne House from 77 Main St. to the 6 Cross St. property to make way for the new town office building. The college also pledged to assume $4.5 million of the $6.5 million construction budget for the two new community buildings.
A mild winter has helped contractors move quickly toward completion of the two buildings, both of which are within budget, according to town officials.
The recreation facility — which includes a team rooms addition for Addison Central Supervisory Union sports teams — has already been open for a few weeks. It will be officially unveiled during an open house slated for Wednesday, March 2, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, workers are nearing completion on the town office building, which will be inaugurated at an open house on Friday, April 29, from 3 to 5 p.m.
The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday unanimously approved $9,945 in additional work at the town offices that will provide for installation of a sliding glass window for the town clerk’s office, rooftop snow guards, and an art display system. The board also agreed to lease some temporary storage space in the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center, and elected to spend:
• $14,292 and $19,196, respectively, for security cameras at the town office building and recreation center. The cameras are being provided by the company Pro-Tech.
• $5,558 for a floor scrubber for the recreation facility. Unused funds in the recreation facility budget will be used for the purchase. The town will look at buying a smaller scrubber for the town offices.
Both buildings were constructed according to rigorous energy efficiency standards, according to Middlebury selectboard members. Officials believe Middlebury’s will be only the second net-zero town office structure in the country (the other is in New York state). The town has invested in solar arrays to count toward the office building’s net-zero rating. A net-zero building consumes no more energy than it produces.
“This is a great achievement for the town,” said Selectwoman Laura Asermily. “These are definitely buildings that accomplish the town’s goals of energy efficiency.”
Local officials are thanking local civic organizations and businesses that have helped finance extra amenities for the new buildings. The Middlebury Rotary Club approached the town last spring with an offer to make $10,000 in upgrades to the small conference room. From this offer, a subcommittee developed a policy and a list of items approved by the selectboard. In addition to the small conference room upgrades, donations have been secured from Middlebury American Legion Post No. 27 and the Junior Legion for two scoreboards and relocation of the current flagpole to the new recreation facility. The Downtown Improvement District Committee has made donations for landscaping for the town offices, and an anonymous gift will pay for a west elevation gable decorative screen on the town office building. Contributions to date have also paid for seven benches for outside seating at the town offices. A community volunteer has also offered to build some complimentary picnic tables.
Donations are still being sought for a new, lighted flagpole (estimated at $10,000) for the town office building and two or three benches to be placed along the walkway between the Ilsley Library and the town offices.  The benches, estimated at around $3,000 each, will be purchased as donations allow, according to Middlebury Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay.
Ramsay said she and other municipal staff will move into the new municipal building in late March/early April. Attention will then turn to removing the old town offices/gym and transforming the property into a public park. Middlebury College will head up that task. To that end, the selectboard on Tuesday agreed to pay Otter Creek Engineering $23,725 to conduct a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment in preparation for June demolition. That assessment, among other things, will key on potential site contamination, including petroleum products. The company will use a variety of testing methods to sample soils, groundwater and air around the site. The college will reimburse the town for this study.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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