ST ALBANS TOWN -- In an executive session on Monday evening, St. Albans Town officials approved engineering and construction firms for the construction of their new town hall and set a tentative date for a groundbreaking.
“We’ve been working with our team to monitor the cost of construction materials; we’ve received bids and final construction costs and are excited to get the project moving forward,” said Town Manager Carrie Johnson.
The Town purchased the land at across Wharf Street from the old DPW site on Georgia Shore Road for $200,000, earlier this year, officials said, and construction will begin in the coming weeks, according to a release.
“The Selectboard has been focused on keeping the project on budget, and with the volatility in construction materials due to COVID-19, we worked diligently with our engineers, project manager and construction manager to stay within the voter-approved budget,” added Selectboard Chair Brendan Deso.
The team for the project includes Hunter Gomez from Peterson Consulting, Jesse Robbins from Freeman French Freeman, Sam Ruggiano from Ruggiano Engineering, Inc and Rachel Lombard from DEW Construction, according to the release.
Town Director of Operations Corey Parent said the town hall construction has only been delayed about a month, as the original groundbreaking was slated for late spring or early summertime.
The project will take approximately eight to 10 months to complete, Johnson said, and officials said the hall would be open for business by next summer.
Johnson also said the delay in groundbreaking was due to supply and labor delays, but also due to the soil conditions that needed to be reinforced to avoid settling incorrectly once the structure is built.
“It required that we do additional testing,” Johnson said.
Johnson said when the process was first envisioned, town officials and the building committee met with engineers to discuss very specifically what they wanted the new face of St. Albans Town to look like.
“We talked about what St. Albans Town meant to us,” Johnson said in an interview Tuesday. “We had a wonderful, creative meeting, and decided we’d like it to reflect what we are most proud of: we’re a railroad town.”
Johnson said the lobby of the new Town Offices will have high, vaulted ceilings and the walls will have earth-toned and natural colors, adequate restroom facilities, a fully-functional heating, ventilation and cooling system and adequate electricity for all of the Town’s technologies, all of which are absent from the current Town Offices.
“Everything will be on one floor, so the public will have full access to everything,” Johnson said. “There is room for growth and that’s important.”
The new Town Offices also have a brand new office for Emmalee Cherington, their new Stormwater Coordinator, who currently works out of the Town Board Room.
When town officials started looking at exactly where to put the new Town Offices, they decided that the best policy was to ask the people of the town.
Because this is going to be their town hall, too.
“We are trying to bolster the village designation,” Johnson said. “So we had a question on one of the ballots that asked town villagers if they wanted to keep the town hall in the village bay area. We got overwhelming responses that they did.”