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Monkton to show off town office building plans

MONKTON RESIDENTS ARE invited to come learn more about a proposed new town office and library building upon which they will vote on Town Meeting Day. The informational meeting is next Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. at the school.

MONKTON — Next week, Monkton residents will get one more chance to review plans for a proposed new Town Office and Library before they vote on the project next month.
The Municipal Building Committee and Bellwether Architects will host a public information meeting at the Monkton Central School gym at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
It will be the town’s last public outreach before Town Meeting Day, March 3, when voters will be asked to approve a $1.7 million bond for the project.
“The Municipal Building Committee has been working for over two years now to explore potential options for a new town office, library and community space,” wrote Building Committee member Peter Straube in a recent online post. “From the beginning, our focus has been on engaging the community to ensure that the design will reflect the preferences of the majority of Monkton residents.”
The proposed two-story building would be located next to the Friends Methodist Church, which is located at 77 Monkton Ridge.
The lot, which the town purchased in 2006 for this purpose, “is in the center of the Village District, with stunning views, easy access, a permitted septic design, and potential to share both parking and a well with the church,” according to an FAQ document on the town’s website.
After surveying residents and holding several public outreach meetings over the last couple of years, the Building Committee distilled the community’s comments into a list of design principles:
•  Minimize costs and impact on taxes.
•  Preserve historic character.
•  Take advantage of the views to the west.
•  Keep the design simple yet inspirational.
•  Maximize the use of space.
•  Build spaces that can be used for multiple purposes at different times.
•  Energy efficient design and construction, with the ability to install solar in the future.
•  Ensure ample storage space.
•  Outdoor terrace or porch to extend the community space.
•  Leave room for future expansion.
The Building Committee chose Bellwether Architects to design the project because it felt the firm best understood the project and the need for community involvement, the committee said in its project report.
According to the design, the Town Hall and Community Room would be located on the upper level. The lower level, which would be partially built into the hill, would house an expanded library, plus mechanical room and additional records storage.
The Building Committee in its project report acknowledged that the building represents a significant undertaking, but said that Monkton is in a good financial position to take on the long-term bond debt the project would require.
Similar bond proposals have failed over the past decade:
•  2010 ($1.4 million): a two-story building housing the town offices upstairs and a community multipurpose room below.
•  2012 ($1.5 million): moving the town hall to the new site and building additions onto it that would accommodate town offices, library and a community space.
•  2013 ($1.05 million): a one-story building housing the town offices, library and a community space.
If this latest bond proposal is approved, construction on the municipal building could get under way as early as August, planners said.
For more detailed information on the project, including the three-page Building Committee Report and an extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions, visit monktonvt.com/building or email building@monktonvt.com.
Reach Christopher Ross at christopherr@addisonindependent.com.

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