Chatham Select Board Deliberates Community Center Renovation

In a recent meeting, the Chatham Select Board extensively discussed the renovation and expansion of the Community Center, a topic of significant interest due to the proposed project’s impact on the town’s infrastructure and budget. The board reviewed detailed presentations outlining multiple scenarios for the building’s redesign, weighing the benefits against the projected costs, which range from $530,000 for basic improvements to over $6.5 million for a full renovation and expansion.

The central point of discussion was the feasibility study presented by a representative from Catalyst Architects and Interiors, detailing plans for both renovation and addition to the existing Council on Aging building. The proposed changes aim to address various structural issues, upgrade the HVAC system, improve parking, and enhance the building’s overall usability. Specific improvements include the possibility of stretching the roofline, adding a senior day program, and reconfiguring the current layout to better serve the community’s needs.

The potential renovations and additions also included creating more space in the multi-purpose room, establishing a new entry vestibule with a covered porch and ramp, reconfiguring the library layout, and adding new meeting rooms on the second floor. An additional option considered was constructing an extension to the south side of the building to provide dedicated storage for medical equipment and space for exercise activities, along with accessible restrooms.

During the meeting, board members evaluated the potential impact of the various upgrade options on the building’s functionality. They discussed the necessity of phasing the construction work to minimize disruption to ongoing activities at the Community Center. The phased approach sparked a debate regarding the financial implications of extending the construction period, with concerns raised about the potential rise in labor costs for off-hours work and the overall longevity of the building post-renovation.

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Board members were also concerned with the need for the improvements to be code compliant, with opinions varying on the distinction between essential updates and discretionary enhancements.

The feasibility of staging the project to allow for simultaneous use by workers and program participants was debated, with members offering differing views on the practicality and cost-efficiency of such an approach. The potential redesign raised questions about the adequacy of the current parking capacity in relation to the proposed renovations, with the suggestion to remove columns in the basement and install steel beams for better functionality, and a reconfiguration of the driveway to add new spaces in the front yard.

Community members who participated in the public comment section expressed support for the proposed project. They also suggested considering alternative spaces for programs during the construction period.

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The board members did not reach a formal conclusion, and no formal votes were taken. The meeting concluded with a motion to adjourn.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Town Manager:
Jill R. Goldsmith
City Council Officials:
Cory J. Metters, Michael Schell, Jeffrey S. Dykens, Shareen Davis, Dean P. Nicastro, Shanna Nealy (Executive Secretary)

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