Millsboro council to continue town hall discussion Oct. 3

The Millsboro Town Council will meet for a third special session to discuss plans for the new town hall and moving the police department into the existing town government office building.

They will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, to review updated designs for two proposed versions of the new town hall to be built on Main Street — a single story structure and a two-story structure.

When they gathered for the second special session on Sept. 5, council members asked Freddy Bada of Moonlight Architecture in Lewes to come up with a design for a smaller structure with fewer offices. His earlier plan had included nine offices, but only four or five are immediately needed, council members said.

Moving the Millsboro Police Department, now on Main Street downtown, to the existing town hall on Wilson Highway, after renovation, and leaving the town museum inside, where it has been for years, were approved.

The current police department will be demolished and the land used for town hall parking. It will take about two and a half years to put up the new town hall, and another one and a half years to renovate for police department occupancy, for a total of four years.

The estimated cost to renovate for the police department is $5.3 million, said Mike Wigley of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc., based in Salisbury, Md., who is in charge of that project. Bada, who is designing the new town hall, estimated the cost as proposed — with nine offices, a second floor and two stairways — at $4.2 million to $4.3 million.

“Those numbers will come down,” Town Manager Sheldon Hudson later told the Coastal Point.

“They don’t take into account getting rid of the meeting room and getting rid of about half the extra offices. We will have maybe around $1 million of cost avoidance. We talked about having to borrow, but council is not interested in borrowing. We have talked to one consultant about the Town’s debt load, and she said we certainly are at a middle range and not too high. That’s good to know.

“If the Town spent that much for a new town hall, we would have to do some reallocating, but probably not borrowing. Council can reallocate its set-asides,” Hudson explained, referring to reserve funds.

Council members asked for deletions from Bada’s plan for the new town hall, to save money.

Councilman Tim Hodges said he wanted a one-story building, but Bada suggested two levels, and Wigley agreed, saying there might not be sufficient area in the Main Street lot for a single-story building containing the needed space.

“I don’t know that you want to utilize 100 percent of that footprint by having a one-story building,” Bada said.

“You might want to put in some green space. I do think we should keep a little bit of extra green space there. Part of this is trying to bring people into the core of the town, and these are the kinds of things that give the feeling you are trying to achieve,” he said.

“How about if we scale the extra offices down? There’s an awful lot of extra offices there,” Hodges said.

“As a matter of fact, maybe we could keep the design the way it is now … knock off the five futures [offices], then all we have to do is lift the roof off and build it if we need those extra five 10 years from now. Then we aren’t heating and air conditioning it and paying for those offices we don’t need. I’m just thinking of ways to save money so we have the money when we need it,” Hodges said.

“You’re not going to be happy adding on to a one-story building, because you’re going to have to displace people. You’d be much better off building a smaller, two-story building,” Wigley said.

The same floor plan would be used, with no extra offices on the sides of the building. Then, in the future, an addition could be built against the existing structure. Once 90 percent of construction is complete, a corridor would be cut through, he explained.

 

By Susan Canfora

Staff Reporter