Thetford Select Board Meeting



Monday, January 7, 2002


Rick Barrows, Judy Bowden, David Fisk, Mark McMahon; Mary Spata, Town Clerk Roberta Howard


Susan Thrane, Cy Severance, Chris Levy, Paul Raymond, Mrs. Raymond; Charles Ladd and Lucy Young joined the meeting at 6:45; Chris Singer and Sara Jo Brown joined the meeting at 6:50.

Agenda Items

Town Hall Architect presentations

Police Officer applicant interview

Police Chief replacement

Planning commission candidates

Road equipment


The meeting began at 6:35 p.m.

Town Hall architect presentations

Fred Keil, of Janson Design, who performed this year's Town Hall feasibility study, presented the approach he would take if he were chosen as the architect for town hall renovation and expansion. It would be beneficial to meet again with the town hall committee to resolve outstanding or changed issues. He would be prepared to present at Town Meeting the per-square-foot cost, grant money available, and possible designs. He said that March 6 and April 17 are critical hearing dates for the grant cycle that has just begun. He pointed out that the town cannot solicit bids without first passing a bond issue, but he recommends that the town begin the bidding process as soon as possible.

In light of a proposal from some residents that the Town form an Energy Committee, Rick Barrows asked Mr. Keil about his experience in energy-efficient design, and whether he would incorporate energy-saving features into his design. Mr. Keil replied that law requires certain energy efficiencies in new construction; the existing building would require, for example, additional insulation, more efficient light fixtures, and heat exchangers.

Mr. Keil cited many projects his company has completed, including some additions to historic structures.

Mr. Keil left at 7:05.

Pi Smith and John Vansant, of Smith and Vansant Architects, joined the meeting. Ms. Smith said that their company has done residential, community and institutional design. They value good design, thoughtful planning, historical context, community involvement, sustainable building practices, reuse of materials, waste reduction, and use of local building materials when possible. They recently designed a library for Tunbridge that incorporated an existing residence and a new addition. The project had a tight budget and involved working with a diverse community group. Ms. Smith and Mr. Vansant also said that, as residents of Thetford, they would appreciate this opportunity to make a contribution to their town.

Rick Barrows asked about energy efficiency. Mr. Vansant responded that while state law requires that architects to meet certain efficiency standards, Smith and Vansant had worked with Marc Rosenbaum to incorporate more than the basic efficiencies into their projects.

Mr. Vansant also stated that any addition to Town Hall does not necessarily have to have a brick exterior. It would be very difficult to match the brick of the existing building. There is precedent for such an addition to have a clapboard exterior, which would set off the new from the old.

Mr. Vansant feels that the construction cost estimate in the feasibility study ($88/sq.ft.) is low. He would expect it to be closer to $125 sq.ft. in this region.

He emphasized that their firm would collaborate closely with the town on any design.

Ms. Smith and Mr. Vansant left the meeting at 7:35.

Don Longwell, of Randall Mudge Associates, joined the meeting. He presented a conceptual drawing of a Town Hall addition, and said that his firm prefers historically correct architecture. He, too, felt that the feasibility study cost estimate is too low; Randall Mudge Associates's work typically costs $120/sq.ft. He would adjust Mr. Keil's design in various ways.

In response to Rick Barrows question about energy efficiency, Mr. Longwell said we could avoid air quality issues in the existing building by not tightening up the building too much during renovation. We could improve lighting efficiency and use some natural light.

Examples of Randall Mudge Associates's work include the Powerhouse Mall and 13 Dartmouth College Highway. Mr. Longwell said that there are other possible designs, such as treating the existing building as an ell off an addition. Moving the vault also allows more options.

He urged the town to verify any architect's cost estimates by consulting a contractor.

Mr. Longwell left the meeting.

The selectboard took comments from the public.

Mr. Severance pointed out that the Mudge design still encroaches on cemetery land.

Mr. Levy felt it is important to that any addition be visually set off from the existing building.

Ms. Young liked Smith and Vansant's "total project" approach, and their views toward energy conservation, local involvement and use of local materials.

Mr. Raymond pointed out that when the town asked Smith and Vansant to modify their previous town hall renovation/addition design, they refused.

Mr. Severance pointed out that the town had not offered to pay Smith and Vansant for the additional work.

Ms. Thrane felt that Smith and Vansant's Tunbridge library project was the one example presented that was most like the town hall project. She likes Smith and Vansant's previous design, although she acknowledged that it had no cellar.

Ms. Singer said that Smith and Vansant appear to have the most experience with old buildings.

Mr. Ladd added that Smith and Vansant appear to have the most experience with energy efficiency issues.

Ms. Young pointed out that Randall Mudge Associates charges an hourly fee for their services, not a percentage of the project cost, so they could end up being the most expensive architects of the three.

Ms. Brown asked whether the architect's percentage is negotiable.

Ms. Young asked that future meetings on the town hall be advertised in the Valley News.

The guests left the meeting.

Police Officer applicant interview

A candidate for a position in our police department did not arrive. He is certified to work part time. His interest in Thetford's position depends on our willingness to send him to the Vermont police academy. There also is the question of hiring an unsupervised officer (Chief Krakowiecki is taking a job in Randolph). It is possible that he could be supervised by outside officer until we hire our own chief.

Police Chief replacement

Tim McCosker joined the meeting to ask whether the selectboard would have an exit interview with Police Chief Krakowiecki, and whether all our officers have written job descriptions. He asked the board to consider what the town needs in a police chief before we hire a replacement for Chief Krakowiecki.

Mr. McCosker also expressed the satisfaction that his firm had had with Smith and Vansant's work for them. He pointed out that we will need a clerk of the works for the town hall project.

Mr. McCosker left the meeting.

The board voted to accept Smith and Vansant Architects for the Town Hall project.

Planning commission candidates

The board has two candidates for three open positions on the planning commission. The board approved Richard Haugen for one position, and agreed to approve Dennis Dohahue if he gets on the Thetford checklist.

Road equipment

The board discussed Road equipment breakdowns. Truck 4 and the bucket loader are both out for repair.


Judy Bowden reported that she had not yet heard back from Duncan Nichols about questions on the right of way across Nichols property to the planned recycling center.

An Agency of Natural Resources' report states that the 100 acres on which the State has an option is not contaminated by the Post Mills landfill. Therefore, the Upper Valley Land Trust is more likely to accept a conservation easement on the 100-acre parcel. Bill Bridge is Thetford's UVLT contact for the 100-acre parcel.

The meeting adjourned at 9:53 p.m. Minutes recorded by Dave Fisk, edited by Mary Spata

Last Modified 06/2002 by Bill Weyrick