Local News

Hartland: Major renovations to Damon Hall and Rec Center will be done in steps, begin this year


By Curt Peterson

Phil Hobbie, Tom Kennedy and Jim Riley were elected as Hartland Select Board chair, vice-chair and clerk, respectively, and began a discussion about long-planned renovations of Damon Hall and the Rec Center in Hartland Three Corners. A motion to move forward on drainage issues for both sites was approved.

Town Manager John Broker-Campbell will obtain designs or drawings required for an engineering firm to create requests for proposals (RFP) for drainage renovations. Kennedy hopes the separate RFP for each site can be sent out by the end of April, and the work can start in 2024.

In reference was a 14-page report by Jonathan A. Soccoccio Architectural Workshop PLLC (JASW) of Brattleboro, detailing problems, solutions and cost estimates for both sites.

All of the JASW recommendations would cost $943,500. The board decided to do the project in “steps,” starting with drainage.  Cost estimates were provided by an unnamed “professional cost estimator” engaged by JASW.

Selectman Clyde Jenne warned against investing too much money [in the Rec Center] and being disappointed with the final product.

“Like with cars in the old days, it might make sense to jack up the radiator cap and drive a new car under it,” Jenne said.

Tom Kennedy said the drainage work is the important first and affordable step that could begin this year “provided we move ahead tonight and don’t put any decision off another month,” he said, adding that the drainage issues are causing ongoing damage, degradation and cost issues.

For Damon Hall, recommendations include modifying the main basement entry roof and trenching in a pipeline to carry water to the parking area, with an additional catch basin.  The timber retaining wall from the building to the sidewalk is leaning due to poor drainage. JASW recommends replacing the timbers with “cast-in-place” concrete and improving the drainage situation.

The Damon Hall roof run-off splashes backwards, “deteriorating the masonry and windows.”

JASW recommends installing new stone and fabric for receiving run-off, and a perforated pipe around the building perimeter to carry the water away from the structure. The basement windows at least need new flashing, but the report suggests replacement. These five drainage remedies are estimated to cost $46,000.

Rec Center drainage requires more extensive modification, according to JASW. “Water flows from Route 12 down slope directly to the … building,” the report reads. “Basement level windows facing Route 12 are [thus] deteriorated. Water run-off also contributes to the degradation.” Water captured by a catch basin adjacent to the highway is meant to be piped to the parking area, but piping is crushed and clogged.

The report recommends installing new piping that would carry water around the building, rather than against it. The existing parking lot water conduit would ideally be extended to discharge past the parking area.

Rec Hall drainage and sitework is estimated to cost $144,200.

Chair Phil Hobbie said he’s pleased the board chose to act. “Like most organizations, we are good at doing studies, but not very good at acting on them,” he remarked.

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