Town Hall Committee

Town Hall Space needs Sept 26th meeting

RCL Notes of Town Space Committee mtg 26 Sep 12



Final Revision C – Provided by theRyeCivic League


NOTE:  These are not the official minutes of this meeting.  They are prepared by the Rye Civic League from notes taken during the meeting by members and are not prepared after listening to recordings of the meeting.  Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of these minutes, including the review by those RCL core committee members in attendance at the meeting.


            Town Hall committee members present:  Cindi Gillespie, Lucy Neiman, Phil Winslow, Beth Yeaton, Mel Low, Ned Paul, Curtis Boivin, Paul Goldman, Priscilla Jenness, Peter White, Peter Kasnet, Gregg Mikolaities, Paula Merritt, Michael Magnant

            Present to take notes and prepare minutes:  Dyana Ledger

            Present from the public:  Kim Reed (Planning and Zoning Administrator), Lee Arthur (Recreation Director), Marty Klenke, Peter Crawford, Victor Azzi, Cecilia Azzi, Alex Herlihy, Sam Winebaum


Approval of minutes


            The minutes from the prior meeting were approved unanimously after correcting the location of the meeting (Town Hall, notPublicSafetyBuilding).


Presentation by Michael Magnant on Town Hall storage


            Town Administrator Magnant presented a series of photographs of storage areas at Town Hall.  He asserted that records management can be expensive and manpower intensive.  There’s no home rule inNew Hampshire, so state law dictates how records management is conducted.  Paper, microfilm or electronic records are acceptable if the retention period is less than 10 years.  If the retention period is more than 10 years, then the record must be transferred to paper or microfilm.  If it is microfilmed, copies must be kept in two locations.

            The Belfry has about 130 boxes of records, primarily financial, but some assessing.

            The Sewer Department is moving to GIS format and will be electronic in about 3 years.

            The photograph of Cindi Gillespie’s office showed two 5 drawer lateral filing cabinets. 

            The photograph of the Assessing office showed four 4 drawer filing cabinets.

            The photograph of the Selectmen’s Office showed six 4 drawer filing cabinets.

            The photograph of the Recreation department showed two 2 drawer lateral filing cabinets.

            The photograph of the Town Clerk’s office included one 5 drawer lateral filing cabinet, two 4 drawer filing cabinets and one 2 drawer filing cabinet. 

            The photograph of the area used by the Conservation Commission showed three 4 drawer filing cabinets. 

            One photograph of the Building Inspector’s office showed three 4 drawer filing cabinets visible.  Another photograph of this office showed eleven 4 drawer filing cabinets and an additional two 4 drawer filing cabinets for working files

            The photograph of the Planning department showed one 4 drawer lateral filing cabinet.

            Photographs of the archive area of the Public Safety building showed approximately five 4 drawer filing cabinets.

            Mr. Magnant indicated that the two lateral and two vertical files currently available to Finance are sufficient.  The Selectmen have six vertical filing cabinets and could reduce that to five.  The Sewer department has four filing cabinets.

            Chairman Paul asked about whether the geothermal system could be consolidated in a new building.  Mr. Magnant responded that the geothermal system is “not tiny,” but acknowledged that consolidation is possible.  Chairman Paul indicated that part of the 400 sq. ft. devoted to mechanical systems in Mr. Boivin’s analysis could possibly be saved.  Mr. Magnant indicated that the boiler is being kept as a backup for cold days.

            Member White asked what a reference to boxing records for archival meant.  Mr. Magnant indicated that eventually these would be moved to thePublicSafetyBuilding.  The departments each take care of their own archival.  Some records are moved to the belfry. 

            Member Winslow suggested that with another ½ hour’s work the cubic feet of records could be calculated.  This might be useful for next Spring’s deliberative session.

            Mr. Magnant indicated that there is no IT room now.  One is needed, ideally air conditioned as the equipment can generate a fair amount of heat.

            Mr. Magnant went on to state that the law requires a Records Retention Committee.  Forming such a committee would be one of the first steps.  He recommends that the town hire a firm to take a full records inventory and make recommendations.  The process won’t be easy, as documents are filed in packets and different documents in each packet may have different discard dates.  They would have to go through each document and decide whether it is to be retained in paper form, disposed of, microfilmed, or an electronic copy created.

            Copies of a number of hand outs relating to records storage were available to Committee members and the public at the meeting.  One shows the text of several sections of N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. (“RSA”) 33-A relating to records retention.  Another lists the various departments and the documents that relate to each and their retention periods.  A single page, entitled “Records Storage” briefly summarizes the departmental needs, some listed in numbers of filing cabinets, and others in square feet of floor space.

            Apparently referring to this last document, Chairman Paul indicated that there is a close correlation between this document and the space plan.


Presentation by Curtis Boivin on Space Plan


            Member Boivin then discussed the space plan prepared by him.  He said that the biggest discrepancy involves getting from Net Square Feet to Gross Square Feet.  Editor’s note:  Gross Square Feet typically is measured to the outside edges of the exterior walls and thus includes the thickness of interior and exterior walls and the size of all space that is within the walls.  Net Assignable Square Feet refers to the space that is assignable to an occupant or a specific use.  Non-assignable space includes areas that are required for building operation but which cannot be assigned.  These include such areas as rest rooms, mechanical areas and circulation.  Circulation typically includes lobbies, elevators, stairways and corridors.    The thickness of walls is neither assignable nor non-assignable, but must also be considered when going from Gross Square Feet to Net Assignable Square Feet.  There’s some confusion as to exactly what AG and Member Boivin mean when they refer to “circulation” as both have separately broken out lobby, elevator and corridor areas, as well as provided an additional undifferentiated figure for circulation (30% in the case of AG and 10% in the case of Member Boivin).    

            Member Boivin stated that he had spoken with Art Guadano at AG Architects.  The 30% circulation that Mr. Guadano used is based on his experience.  A figure of only 10% is sufficient only to take care of the thickness of the walls, Mr. Guadano asserted.  Mr. Guadano will release the AutoCAD files so that Member Boivin may use them to determine how much net space is allocated and how much space is for circulation.  Editor’s note:  AutoCAD is a very popular Computer Aided Design (CAD) system used for producing architectural and other designs electronically, and for producing computer-generated drawings from those designs.  Mr. Guadano asserted that a minimum of 20% must be provided for circulation.

            Member Boivin feels that this figure must be nailed down.  He stated that his research has revealed that the figure can be from a low of 15% to a high of 45%. 

            Member Mikolaities asked whether the goal is to design a building or come up with a range, for example 10,000 to 11,000 sq. ft.  Member Curtis responded that there is a 3000 sq. ft. discrepancy, which is a large number.  Editor’s note:  this is an apparent reference to the reduction in the circulation figure between the AG analysis and his.  Member Curtis asserted that AG, he and the Concerned Citizens are all on the same page, with similar square footage needs.  Editor’s note:  this is not really true as AG provided for 15,090 sq. ft., Member Boivin 10,478 sq. ft. and the Concerned Citizens 8,288 sq. ft., the last figure excluding the Recreation Department.  The goal is efficient space, Member Boivin said.

            Member Mikolaities responded that at the end of the day it must be acknowledged that the current facility is undersized.  A professional needs to be hired.  The voters should be told that the range is between 9,000 and 11,000 sq. ft.  Pick a number.  Member Boivin responded that the numbers should be accurate.  Member Mikolaties agreed that the 15,000 sq. ft. was high, but indicated that the 6,000 sq. ft. of the current building is too small.

            Member Goldman interjected that the more fundamental issue is the voters.  People want to know that some level of due diligence has been done.  The numbers are not as important as that.

            Member Boivin replied that the goal is coming up with a quantitative requirement.  The Town paid for a programming of the sq. ft.  This Committee is checking that and addressing location, size, scope and historic appropriateness.  They are not doing a building design or arriving at a precise number of square feet.

            Member Mikolaities interjected that the circulation might be from 15 to 45 percent.  Chairman Paul indicated that the time should be spent to analyze the CAD drawings.  Member Mikolaities indicated that the Committee would not be submitting a design and handing it off to the architect.  Member Boivin responded that the programmed ratio of the Net Square Feet to the overall square feet depends on where the rooms go and how much corridor space there is.

            Member White stated that the original premise was that the AG analysis was a wish list and not a baseline as to what was needed.

            Member Goldman replied that the adjusted space needs are becoming less of a wish list.

            Member Curtis responded that Town Hall will be renovated perhaps every 75 years.  Some of the ratios may be high compared to other towns, butRyemay also be providing better services.

            Chairman Paul asked how long it would take to analyze the CAD data.  Member Boivin replied that it would be a few hours once he has the drawings.  He asserted that the difference between his 10,000 sq. ft. and the Concerned Citizens 8,000 sq. ft. is that the Concerned Citizens eliminated the separate circulation areas and included them in an overall 30%.  Editor’s note:  While this is true, the Concerned Citizens analysis uses 30% added space for circulation and does not provide separate figures for the corridor, lobby, elevator and stair areas.  Member Boivin’s analysis uses 10% but lists the corridor, lobby, elevator and stair areas separately and provides space for them.  Comparing the total circulation areas, the Concerned Citizens analysis has 1,913 sq. ft. and Member Boivin’s analysis 2,636 sq. ft.  Chairman Paul suggested that they use 20% circulation.  Member Boivin promised to get back to the Committee on this issue.  Member White, referring to the staircases line, cautioned against confusing the analyses.

            Member Winslow referred to the circulation only being 10%.  Member Boivin replied that it was more than that if the other areas are taken into account.


Cost analysis of various options by Ned Paul


            Chairman Paul then presented an analysis that he had done, comparing the three options of building a separate building on a lot to be acquired, building out thePublicSafetyBuildingand adding onto the existing Town Hall.  The projected costs are $2.915 million, $2.696 million, and $2.358 million respectively.  To provide for a further possible reduction in space to respond to the Concerned Citizens, Member Paul provided figures, with 1060 sq. ft. less space.  For the first option, the cost is reduced to $2.703 million, and for the third option, to $2.119 million.  No reduced space calculation was done for the second option.

            Member Winslow referred to the circulation only being 10%.  Editor’s note:  he was apparently suggesting that the square feet assumed by Chairman Paul was too low.  Member Boivin replied that it was more than that if the other areas are taken into account.

            Member Low indicated that the first committee had looked at the new land option and had rejected it.  Member Kasnet indicated that this option does not include site development costs that he estimates would add an additional $200,000 to $250,000.  Member Mikolaities indicated that site work would be $300,000 to $400,000 for 30-40 parking spaces, not including the foundation.  Member Boivin indicated that the costs would be higher for masonry construction, and if a ledge must be dealt with.  Also, selective demolition, as would be required for the Town Hall renovation, is not easy.  You can’t just send people in with sledge hammers.  Member Neiman agreed, indicating that this is why you see perfectly good homes being torn down inRye.  It’s less expensive to tear down and rebuild than to renovate.

            When asked about septic costs, and after learning that the site Chairman Paul had assumed onWashington Rd.does not have sewer service available, Member Mikolaities indicated that septic would add $25,000 to $50,000. 

            Chairman Paul indicated that, at the next meeting, there will be a vote on each option, or alternatively on whether renovating at the existing site would be the best option.

            Cecilia Azzi, a Town resident speaking from the audience, suggested that they look at land that the Town already owns, such as behind the Public Safety building.  Chairman Paul responded that that is where the snow is piled.  He also asserted that, even if the land were free, the cost would only be reduced to about the same as the option of renovating on site.  He acknowledged that a fourth option of using town-owned land could be added. 

            Member Winslow asked what would be done with Town Hall if they move out. 

            Member White indicated that there is room for a stand-alone building on the same parcel that the Town Hall is on. 

            Member Low interjected that, years ago, a lot behind the bank was looked at.  The Selectmen lost their jobs after that proposal was shot down.

            Town Clerk Beth Yeaton asked whether Member White’s option for a stand-alone building would include a connection to the existing Town Hall.  Member White responded that the building might be 3000 to 4000 sq. ft. and house certain departments.  There are various options for connecting the buildings, including underground.

            Member Boivin referred to the “hot button” issue of aesthetics, but indicated that it may be too early to discuss that issue.

            Chairman Paul indicated that developing a stand-alone building would delay the renovation of Town Hall.  In addition, separate buildings would create an issue of residents going to the wrong building.  He always did that in the last town he lived in.    Selectmen Jenness interjected that there is room on the site for expansion.  The geothermal wells are located on the lot to the north of the Town Hall.

            Chairman Paul continued with Option 2 of his analysis, utilizing additional space at the PublicSafetyBuilding.  Per the AG or JSM report, this would provide 6259 sq. ft.  Editor’s note:  This document is available on the Town’s web site, at the same location as the Final Rye Study referenced elsewhere herein.  The report lists 6259 sq. ft. exclusive of 1500 sq. ft. additional for stairs and elevator.  He used a cost of $200 per sq. ft. applied to the 6259 sq. ft.  Member White stated that this seems astronomical, given that there is a complete foundation, a roof and no asbestos issues. 

            Member Kasnet responded that there are egress issues.  Elevators would be needed in both buildings.  There would need to be two means of fireproof egress.  Dormers would be needed, so a new roof might as well be built.  The steel beams would need redoing, and the storage loads could not be supported.  Editor’s note:  Victor Azzi, who was part of the committee responsible for the Public Safety building has stated that the steel structure over the equipment bay at the Public Safety Building was specifically designed to accommodate an added floor and that Mr. Kasnet’s first point is incorrect.  In addition, the reference to “storage loads” is vague.  There’s a big difference between the floor loads for offices with filing cabinets interspersed and use of the entire second floor exclusively to store heavy paper records.

            Member White asked whether the build out over the equipment bay would be for Town offices or the firefighters.  He indicated that no dormers would be required if the space is used as dormitories for the firefighters.  Member Boivin disagreed.  Natural light and a means of egress are both required.  Member White asked Member Boivin whether he was comfortable with $200 per square foot.  Member Boivin replied “absolutely.” 

            Member Goldman interjected that everything that has been discussed pushes the cost of options 1 and 2 higher.  Member White responded that a common denominator must be used.  The square footage provided by option two is higher.  Member Boivin replied that perhaps there were more square feet, but they were not as functional. Chairman Paul indicated that thePublicSafetyBuildingcost arrived at was within the range of what AG came up with.

            Chairman Paul then proceeded to explain his analysis of Option 3, an addition to the existing Town Hall.  The 6418 sq. ft. is from the “report” but excludes the 500 sq. ft. at the PublicSafetyBuilding.  Editor’s note:  this appears to be the 3084 sq. ft. for both the first and second floors, plus the 250 sq. ft. for the Belfry, all figures appearing on the page prior to page D-1 of the “Final Rye Study.”  This report is available at by clicking first on Departments, then Selectmen’s Office, then Town Hall Space Needs Study, then Final Rye Study.  Chairman Paul explained that, at a cost of $225 per sq. ft., the renovation cost for this building is $1.4 million.  He then backed into the 4060 sq. ft.  Editor’s note:  apparently he subtracted the 6418 sq. from the 10,478 sq. ft. space need indicated by Member Boivin’s analysis.  This assumes that the porches, currently devoted to the Recreation Department on the second floor and Building Department storage on the floor below, would be renovated, rather than removed to provide an attachment point for the building expansion.  The porches total about 500 sq. ft.  Member Paul stated that he also considered an option reducing the 4060 to 3000 sq. ft. to “appease other residents” who might feel that the space needs are less. 

            After seeing Member Paul’s analysis, Member Boivin argued this is the least expensive and most suitable option.

            Member Mikolaities interjected that, to be fair, the site work and septic costs should be added to Option 3 as well.  Chairman Paul agreed, indicating that earth would need to be moved and the parking lot would need to be expanded.  Member Neiman reminded the Committee of the availability of parking at the adjacent Congregational Church.  Town Finance Director Gillespie interjected that the septic will need to be done.  Currently the septic system has its leach field in the cemetery.  It is pumped annually.  Selectman Jenness interjected that the residents have not been complaining.

            Member Winslow reminded the Committee that, if the circulation figure changes, an additional 1000 sq. ft. would need to be added.  Chairman Paul responded that the circulation is hiding in the other numbers. 

            Member Goldman stated that, even if the upper limit is used, Option 3 would still be the least expensive option.

            Member Kasnet indicated that site work for Option 3 might include $35,000 for septic and an additional $50,000, depending on the footprint.  Chairman Paul indicated that he would use $100,000.  Member Kasnet asserted that Option 3 is by far the most practical. 

            Member Winslow asked whether Recreation could be moved out.  Member Curtis responded that the issue would come up when aesthetics are discussed.  He stated that the Concerned Citizens have taken a “supply side” approach to proportions.  Their biggest argument is that Recreation must be moved out so that the addition is sufficiently small to be aesthetically pleasing.

            Member Kasnet interjected that if Recreation is moved out money will need to be spent elsewhere.  Town Clerk Yeaton argued that this will not happen for another 5-10 years and that Recreation needs to remain in the interim. 

            Member Boivin  said that, playing devils advocate, in another 3-4 years Recreation could have another facility.

            Member Goldman argued that having extra space is not a bad thing.  What if they erred on the space requirements?

            Member Mikolaities argues that moving Recreation out might increase the space need, perhaps to 1200 sq. ft.  Bathrooms would need to be added, for example, whereas if Recreation were located at Town Hall they could use the bathrooms there.  Editor’s note:  the modular units currently at the recreation area include bathrooms.  Presumably, a new Recreation facility there to replace the modular units and provide additional space would include bathrooms to accommodate the various programs as well as any staff located there.

            Lee Arthur, Recreation Director, present in the audience, stated that Recreation needs space but there are several options as to where it could be. 


Other assumptions


            Chairman Paul then went through the other assumptions.  For example, could they assume that Town Hall could not be located on recreation or conservation land?  While there is an item in the CIP plan regarding the Old Police Station, the assumption is that this facility may be used only for storage at this time. 

            Member White interjected that use of the space over the equipment bay at thePublicSafetyBuildingwas one of the ways that the building was sold to the Town’s voters in 2005.  He asked Member Low to comment on this.  Member Low indicated that, at the time, it was assumed that a group might come forward to use this space, but it would need an elevator.  Chairman Paul stated that the assumption should be that thePublicSafetyBuildingwas not usable for Town Hall purposes, but would be open for other functions.  Member Boivin commented that it is not enough space for the entire Town Hall, and that divided space is undesirable. 

            The discussion then turned to the report format.  Finance Director Gillespie stated that they haveDurham’s study that was done in 2007.  Member Boivin interjected thatDurhamis now in the process of relocating their Town Hall. 

            Editor’s note:  AG Architects was awarded the contract to develop the Town Hall for Durham at the Town Council meeting on July 16, 2012.  One of the councilmen referred to seeing something about AG in Rye’s minutes.  The contract provides for $28,000 for Schematic Design/Site Investigation, $26,200 for Design Development, and $56,950 for Construction Documents.  As Rye 2012 Warrant Article 10 was originally worded, $135,000 would have taken the Rye Town Hall through completion of the Design Development phase.  This compares to $54,200 awarded to AG for the Durham project through this phase.  Warrant Article 10 was amended at the 2012 Deliberative Session to indicate that $135,000 would further, but not complete, Design Development.

            The project involves renovation of the former People’s United Bank building, constructed in 1982 and located across the street from the current Durham Town Hall.  In its proposal, AG estimated the construction cost for 5700 sq. ft. of renovation and an expansion of 3500 sq. ft. at $1.3 to $1.75 million, or $141 to $190 per square foot.  This information is available at  Click on Agendas/Minutes and then enter 7/16/12 in the starting and ending dates.  According to Ms. Gillespie’s data, Durham has 14,638 residents and a current Town Hall size of 4962 sq. ft.  The new Durham Town Hall would provide .629 sq. ft. per resident, less than half of Rye’s 1.317 sq. ft. per resident with its current building.  An unknown number of Durham’s residents are presumably UNH Durham students.  Enrollment is 14,596 according to

            Member Winslow stated that questions at the deliberative session should be considered.  If someone asks why the Parsonage Apartments were not considered someone should be able to provide an answer.

Presentation of Concerned Citizens by Peter Crawford


            Chairman Paul then indicated that he would open the meeting up to public comment.  He said that he had been sent a very nice presentation by the Concerned Citizens.  Member Low commented that they were fortunate that a citizens group was involved.

            Peter Crawford, a Town resident, then passed out 4 copies of the presentation to members.  Chairman Paul had additional copies that he passed out. 

            Mr. Crawford first gave some background on the participants in the Concerned Citizens group.  He stated that he and Victor Azzi had developed the figures for the space needs.  Mr. Azzi has many years of experience in construction and architecture and was part of the committee involved with thePublicSafetyBuilding.  He has a PhD from Yale.  Mr. Crawford stated that he had managed a $45 million company and had combined a 100,000 sq. ft. facility with an adjacent 40,000 sq. ft. facility, moving people into the smaller facility.  He got together with his managers, marked up the drawings and figured out how to fit everyone in.  Other members of the Concerned Citizens have reviewed the analysis.  Members of the group include the head of the Heritage Commission and Alex Herlihy, Chairman of the Historical Society.  There should be no question as to the credibility of the Concerned Citizens, Mr. Crawford said.

            Mr. Crawford then quickly went through his presentation, without the benefit of using the projector.  The current building is closer to 6000 sq. ft., than 7000 sq. ft., the latter figure including storage at thePublicSafetyBuilding, he said.  Mr. Boivin’s analysis indicates that about 10,500 sq. ft. is needed.  This amounts to nearly an 80% increase. 

            Mr. Crawford then continued stating that, at the last meeting, an analysis of other town’s facilities was presented.  The problem is thatNewingtonhas a large 4666 sq. ft. auditorium that skews the numbers.  In addition, the more logical way to calculate the average square feet per employee is to add up the total square feet for the towns, add up the total employees, and divide the total square feet by the total employees.  That gives 633 sq. ft. per employee, even includingNewington.  ExcludingNewingtonthe number is 575 sq. ft. per employee.  Nevertheless, he has assumed 633 sq. ft. per employee for the sake of argument.  He believes that a more appropriate number would be less than 600.

            Mr. Crawford noted thatRyealready has one of the largest facilities, in terms of sq. ft. per resident, and that two of the other towns with high figures for this metric,NewingtonandNew Castle, have fewer than 1000 residents.

            Using the 633 sq. ft. per employee and adding on the 1698 sq. ft. for the Great Hall, Mr. Crawford then presented the size of the addition which would be required under three scenarios:  without Recreation, with Recreation, and in accordance with Mr. Boivin’s analysis.  All scenarios assumed a two story addition, attached where the porches now are (the porches would be removed).  If Recreation is included, the extension would be 62 feet from the point where the porches now attach, if Recreation is excluded, the extension would be 34 feet.  Under Mr. Boivin’s analysis, the extension would be 70 feet.  This would make the building 153 feet long, taking it nearly to the point where the steps go up to the asphalt path up to the church.

            Member Boivin asserted that the figures were incorrect and that Mr. Crawford had used the entire space need to calculate the area of the addition.  Mr. Crawford indicated that the 153 feet is from the front of the current building.  Chairman Paul, using his calculator, confirmed that Mr. Crawford’s calculations were correct.

            Mr. Crawford then showed a graphical view, looking from above the building, that showed how long and thin the building would be if Recreation were included.

            Member White interjected that the Heritage Commission would be addressing the issue of the building’s aesthetics.

            Member Merritt asked why Mr. Crawford was using an extension that went straight back when the plan last year was for an L-shaped extension.  Mr. Crawford responded that this would not affect the total area of the extension if it were two stories.  He said that he felt that the voters had already rejected the option of burying part of the building in the hillside, and that presenting a similar option except with a somewhat smaller white clapboard building would not be successful.  He also said that Beth Yeaton, in a recent conversation, had proposed an extension that went straight back.

            Mr. Crawford continued by stating that there were significant differences between the Concerned Citizens analysis and the Boivin analysis.  The circulation percentages are in fact very similar, amounting to 25.2% of the total in Mr. Boivin’s analysis and 23.1% in the Concerned Citizens analysis.  While Mr. Boivin provided for 10% additional and the Concerned Citizens 30% additional, Mr. Boivin also broke out separately the space for the lobbies, corridors, stairs and elevator.  When these are added in, the total circulation figures are not all that different. 

            There are still major differences, Mr. Crawford stated.  The Town Clerk remains at 1100 sq. ft. in Member Boivin’s analysis, not reduced at all from the AG report.  There’s still a lot of space for storage.  Mr. Crawford stated that, while difficult to tell because the storage is not always broken out, there appears to be at least 1000 sq. ft. for storage in Mr. Boivin’s plan.  He determined that this is enough room to fit about 150 4 drawer filing cabinets, while still leaving room for the drawers to open.  He didn’t count anything close to that number of filing cabinets in the photographs shown earlier by Mr. Magnant. 

            Town Clerk Yeaton stated that she would be happy to share the conference room provided in Mr. Boivin’s plan with other departments.  She asked Mr. Crawford where he got the figure of 9 marriage licenses issued per year.  Editor’s note: This figure appears in the text of the Concerned Citizens’ presentation.  The stated purpose for the Town Clerk’s conference room in previous meetings was to permit the Town Clerk to meet privately with marriage license applicants.  Mr. Crawford referred to the 2011 Annual Report and, opening the page to the one listing marriage licenses issued, showed it to Ms. Yeaton.  Ms. Yeaton replied that the list in the Annual Report includes only marriages of Rye residents and that the actual number is much higher. Mr. Crawford replied that he stands corrected. Editor’s note:  Ms. Yeaton informed Mr. Crawford the next day that 38 marriage licenses have been issued year to date in Rye.

            Mr. Crawford then addressed the issue of records storage.   It is not necessary that everything be scanned at once, he said.  Many documents are now already computer generated and may easily be stored electronically.  If the retention period is less than 10 years, once a backup has been done no paper need be retained.  Other possibilities include requiring building permit applications to be provided electronically.  It is not necessary that everything be scanned, or everything done at once.  Also, the Concerned Citizens analysis provides at least the space currently occupied by the various departments.

            Member Goldman asked why Mr. Crawford was addressing this issue when Mr. Magnant had earlier stated that a study should be done.  Mr. Crawford responded that he fully supports the need for a study, but that the study should have already been done and the results incorporated in determining the space requirements.  If this is a Town Hall renovation that is to last for 75 years, then why is a long-term plan incorporating short-term needs such as records storage and the Recreation Department?

            Member Goldman then asked if Mr. Crawford had interviewed the department heads.  He responded that he had spoken to Lee and Beth, the heads of the departments with the greatest differences relative to Mr. Boivin’s analysis.  Editor’s note:  Lee Arthur is head of the Recreation Department and Beth Yeaton is Town Clerk.


Comments by Alex Herlihy


            Alex Herlihy, a Town resident and Chairman of the Rye Historical Society, then spoke.  He said that a crucial issue prior to the deliberative session is how the Town residents are to be communicated with.  He has no objection to an L-shaped building which would not have as much mass.  He wants this project to succeed.  The difference in square feet can be reconciled without destroying the aesthetics.


Comments by Sam Winebaum


            Sam Winebaum, a Town resident then spoke.  He said that he thinks the project is doable if it is reasonable.  If no additional square feet were provided, with clever filing, he believes that the existing space could be made to work.  However, this would not provide for a good future.  The Committee should attempt to plan for the smallest space possible so that the aesthetics are preserved and the cost minimized.  Mr. Winebaum stated that the Town would be facing water, sewer and road issues over the next 20 years and that these would be multi million dollar issues more expensive than Town Hall.

            Mr. Winebaum stated that Recreation provides fabulous service but they are squeezed into a small space.  A facility for Recreation needs to be provided sooner, rather than later.  More amenities will raise property values and attract younger people.

            Mr. Winebaum continued that he has been involved with electronic medical records.  All hospitals have the same issue.  The buildings are packed to the gills.  Some have warehouses to store records.  The solution typically developed is to scan the records when they are needed and then shred the originals.  It is cost prohibitive to scan everything at once.  Good software is needed.  Some things are not suitable for scanning, such as plans.


Comments by Victor Azzi


            Victor Azzi, a Town resident, then spoke.  He stated that the Town needs a facilities master plan.  The tail is wagging the dog.  An L-shaped addition would be pretty large.  Whether Recreation is in or out is an important question.  Recreation is proposing a $3.498 million facility.  Someone must have sharpened their pencil to come up with that figure.  The CIP plan says this will occur in 2014.  The upcoming deliberative session will thus presumably need to consider this.  Why add space to accommodate Recreation when there is another train barreling down the track.  Doesn’t the Town need to know what the overall plan is?

            Regarding records storage, a lot was said in November, December, January, February and March about this issue.  Editor’s note:  Mr. Azzi was apparently referring to late 2011 and early 2012.  Mr. Crawford addressed this issue but was faulted for bringing it up after Mr. Magnant said he would address it.  Last week there were two anecdotal stories about other towns that had looked into the scanning of records.  There was no substance behind these stories.  What Mr. Magnant is proposing is what needs to be done.

            The building costs are inflated, perhaps purposely, Mr. Azzi continued.  Those who know, know that the figures are not correct.  Some are familiar with thePublicSafetyBuildingand the loading of the septic system.  AG had questionable motives regarding thePublicSafetyBuilding.  He knows the building codes, and helped to write some of them.  People had better be doing their homework. 

            He supports the two curvilinear stairs.  When a building is on the State or National Registry of Historic Places, relief can be obtained from egress requirements.

            As a recent example of construction costs, before they came down, thePublicSafetyBuildingwas 22,900 sq. ft. and was built for $2.75 million, an overall cost of $120 per sq. ft. despite a lot of special things to drive the costs up.  Costs should be no more than 25% higher now, probably in the range of $150 to $160 per sq. ft.  The build out over the apparatus bay should be $80 to $100 per sq. ft. 

            The Town Hall site may be the best site for a building.  Better space may be obtained less expensively if a stand-alone building is constructed over where the tree is, providing separation from the church and this building.  Some have considered this option.

            Chairman Paul interjected that Mr. Azzi is an expert.  He is welcome to propose an alternative for the Committee to vote on.


Comments by Cecilia Azzi and Recreation Department issues


            Cecilia Azzi, a Town resident, then spoke, questioning whether Rye Recreation needs to be where it is now.  Why couldn’t this building be devoted to Rye Recreation? Lee Arthur, Recreation Director, responded that they need to be near the playing fields.  It’s all Gregg Mikolaities fault, she said.  Editor’s note:  See the notes of the September 12, 2012 meeting.  Mr. Mikolaities stated that one of the worst things he did was put space down at the Recreation area in the form of modular units.  Ms. Arthur continued that a consultant came up with the $3.5 million, which has not been readdressed.  She gets Mr. Azzi’s point regarding a full facility plan.  The department can locate anywhere.  They can and have used carport and police station space.  They currently have 5 or 6 places for storage.  The plan has to come from the residents working through the Recreation Commission.

            Member Merritt raised an issue with Great Hall security.  She questioned whether Town Hall is the best place for Recreation services.  Someone must be in charge of the building at night.  Mr. Crawford responded that this can be accommodated with appropriate design of the building so that access to the Great Hall does not provide access to the rest of the building.  He also read the figures from the 2011 CIP plan that show both design and construction starting in 2014.  Chairman Paul indicated that the 2012 CIP plan will also project funding for the Recreation facility.  Mr. Crawford stated that a scaled down Recreation facility could happen sooner than people think.  A basketball court may not be needed as the Great Hall could serve some of the needs that the Community Center at theRecreationCenteris to provide. 

            Chairman Paul interjected that he assumes that some presence in Town Hall will be needed for the Recreation Department.  Town Hall has the best computers and copiers.