Lincoln readies new energy efficient town offices

LINCOLN — The new Lincoln town office building is a mere step from completion, according to Selectboard Chairman Bill Finger. What remains to be done are small details like attaching electric plates and polishing the floor.
“Looks like it’ll be done by the end of the week,” said Finger.
Finger said town office personnel plan to wait until after Tuesday’s election and then move in during the week of Nov. 14. The office will probably then close for business for several days before reopening.
The Independent took a sneak preview tour of the new building late last week, at which time there was still a flurry of workmen putting on final touches.
The structure more than doubles the old one’s size, increasing the square footage from 950 to 2,000. The ceilings measure a foot taller as well, at nine feet high, said Finger. Oriented to face south, the building is flooded with light, and although new it is designed to blend into the historic character of the surrounding village.
The new facility offers maple cabinetry, a dyed concrete floor and an automated shade at the town clerk’s desk that can be opened or closed, depending on the clerk’s public hours.
The building is energy efficient and “exceeds Vermont building code standards,” said Finger, employing propane-based radiant heat, heat pumps and a heat-recovery ventilation system. Details like the fiber cement clapboards and two-over-two-look ultra-efficient windows add both a historic touch and 21st-century energy efficiency.
Finger said that one of the most frequent comments he’s gotten is how much folks like the Lincoln Town Office sign outside the building, made by Mountain Signs in Ripton.
Finger said that many have asked why the building faces south instead west toward the parking lot. Finger that in addition to allowing for more natural light, the southern orientation also permits a better traffic flow on its narrow lot.
He was pointed out that the low grade from parking lot to front door provides wheelchair access through the main entrance, with everyone able to walk up the same sidewalk and enter through the same door.
The finances are also working out.
“We’re doing quite well budget-wise,” Finger said.
After the town passed a $590,000 town office bond in March 2015, the selectboard originally thought that it would renovate and expand town’s 1973 office building. But when the town got only one bid for the project and it was $100,000 over the bond, the selectboard went back to the drawing board.
After conversations with Mill Bridge Construction and architectural firm Keefe and Wesner, both of Middlebury, the town realized it could demolish the old town office and design-build a new one at a better price.
“I think we’ve got a building that’s going to last well over 50 years,” said Finger. “It’s a great community facility. It’ll be a nice place to work and a nice place to visit.”
Reporter Gaen Murphree is reached at [email protected].

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