GLENVILLE — Town officials say they tentatively plan to pursue building a new Town Hall near the crest of a hill on Glenridge Road, and convert the current Town Hall into a public safety building.
That was the recommendation of an architect who has been studying the town's building needs for the last year and evaluated a series of options, from moving the town hall to a different part of town to leasing from a private developer.
After a workshop discussion Wednesday, Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the Town Board has a consensus to pursue the plan recommended by architects CSArch of Albany, which conducted a year-long study of the town's space needs.
"There's a whole myriad of issues that we need to address," Koetzle said.
Town officials have said for years that they need to do something about the current building—which was once a movie theater—where the offices are oddly configured and located on several different levels. The courts and police department need modernization.
The plan recommended by CSArch calls for the town to build a new 6,300-square-foot town hall on a four-acre town-owned plot that includes a former residence now used by the town historian's office. The land is east of the Town Hall, and separated from it by the Schenectady County Library property; the properties connect behind the library, though. Between the town properties, the town has 6.5 acres.
"By keeping the courts and the police department where they are now, it will allow us to build a smaller town hall next to the library, and start to create the campus setting we have talked about in the past," Koetzle said.
The architects evaluated five options, including adding to the existing building; merging Town Hall with the Glenville Senior Center; having a private developer build a building with retail space that the town would lease part of; moving to the Dutch Meadows area; or having two buildings.
"Renovating the existing Town Hall as a Public Safety Building for the Police and Court functions, and building a new Town Hall/Town Offices building on the adjoining site appears to be the best option for expansion, functionality, practicality and overall cost," the feasibility study concluded.
The next step for the town would be to develop detailed cost estimates, but the feasibility study estimated the total construction costs for renovating the current building and erecting a new building at between $4.75 million and $5.75 million.
The town has an unspent $1.5 million state grant to improve its police station, which Koetzle believes could be applied to the project. The police department needs modernized and more-secure space, and the town courts also have unmet needs, Koetzle noted.
Other town functions, such as building and planning, the town clerk, town supervisor, assessing and financial management, would move to the new building.
"If we stay in this building and utilize our six acres we don't have any acquisition costs, and that could be a tremendous cost savings," Koetzle said.
There would also be records storage space included in the public safety building. "We right now have a serious records management problem," Koetzle said. "We are out of space. We are renting trailers to keep records in."
Koetzle said the hope is that between the state police department grant and capital funding, the town will only need to borrow about $2.5 million.
He said the plans will be discussed during upcoming public budget meetings in September, and public meetings specifically on the plans will probably be held in October. "I'm definitely interested in outreach and hearing the public feedback," he said.
At this point, the proposals aren't concrete enough for the Town Board to conduct any votes. "I'm hoping sometime in early 2020 we'll have a concrete plan to vote on," Koetzle said.