Plans to spend state grant money on improvements to Glenville’s police station in Town Hall are prompting a fresh look at the building’s future.
Receipt of a $1.5 million public safety grant through state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, announced in October, has resurrected long-standing questions about the physical limitations of Town Hall.
“We’re not going to invest $1.5 million in a building we’re not going to stay in,” said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said.
Town officials have complained for years about Town Hall’s inadequacies, and there’s at least the possibility that it could be moving elsewhere, though significant renovations to the existing building are also a possibility.
The Town Board on Wednesday is expected to hire Synthesis Architects of Schenectady to do an evaluation of the town’s options, Koetzle said. The firm will be paid up to $36,500.
Town Hall, near the crest of a hill on Glenridge Road just east of Glenville Center, was build in the 1970s as a movie theater. The theater quickly failed, and the town acquired the structure in 1984 and turned it into the Town Hall, where town offices, Town Court and the police station are all located.
Despite the building’s conversion, Koetzle said, there are a number of issues with inefficient use of its space. The town Economic Development and Planning Department is on the second floor, and those who work in the town clerk, supervisor’s or comptroller’s office can’t get to it or the police station without passing through the meeting room, where meetings sometimes occur during the day. He said the public can’t visit the town clerk and Town Court without having to go back outside first.
“It’s very cut up, and there’s a lot of wasted space,” Koetzle said.
Meanwhile, the bathrooms aren’t handicapped-accessible and neither are the offices on the second floor.
Synthesis Architects will be asked to look at the current work areas and foot traffic traffic between them, and what can be done to make them more efficient and address handicapped-accessibility issues. The firm will also provide cost estimates of the work, and compare those choices with the cost of building a new building tailored to town government’s needs.
“We are outgrowing the space,” Koetzle said. “We are a growing town.”
The town is hoping to have at least some answers within six to eight weeks.
“It could be a simple space reconfiguration; it may not be much at all — or you could do something more dramatic,” Koetzle said.
The $1.5 million state grant is for making safety improvements and other upgrades at the police station, which Police Chief Steve Janik said has remained largely unchanged for 30 years.