Hearing to discuss community hall

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OTISFIELD — Town officials will discuss possible renovations to the town’s community hall this week at a public informational meeting.

A hearing will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Otisfield Community School. It will discuss the future of the Otisfield Community Hall, a building on Route 121 that was constructed in the 1920s.

An assessment by Fish Street Design of Fryeburg and The H.L. Turner Group of Concord, N.H., concluded earlier this year that the hall is in need of a number of upgrades. The companies estimated that the total cost of the work, except for kitchen upgrades, would be $329,518.

One recommendation would have the building relocated farther back from the highway to allow more suitable parking and entry space. The companies also suggest that the 72-by-30-foot single-story hall should be placed on a concrete foundation for more suitable bearing as well as adding storage and mechanical space.

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The assessment says that the wood in the building is in good condition, but that the floor and roof need to be upgraded to meet the International Building Code’s load capacity requirements. Other recommendations include the replacement of windows, shingles and siding; the upgrading of kitchen equipment; and the addition of insulation to allow the use of the hall year-round.

An item on the town’s annual town meeting in June will determine what action residents will take regarding the hall. The options include conducting upgrades at the current site, moving the building, conducting both the move and the upgrades, and taking no action.

The report was reviewed for further input by local contractors Ken Bartow and Rick Micklon, who is also a selectman. The two men say the estimated cost of repairs may be too low.

“Based upon the will of the voters, and the availability of funds, the project will undoubtedly cost between $300,000 and $370,000,” they conclude. “Savings can be found, and added costs may materialize, based upon the decisions of the voters.”

Bartow and Micklon say that the hall’s septic system will have to be upgraded to be under a parking area if the hall is moved. They say the building’s upgrades should also include a fire sprinkler system at an estimated cost of $20,000.

The building was once privately owned, briefly used as a library, and given to the East Otisfield Community Club, which deeded it to the town. It has been used for a number of community-related events, including dances, bake sales, town meetings and school functions.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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