Frequently Asked Questions
 

What is the 2nd floor restoration project? 

  • An effort to use the second-floor space as it was originally intended

 

Why do we need it?

  • In effect, we all pay to maintain a space no one can use.

  • The Noyes Community Center (aka, the school gym) was built as an alternative meeting space for the town, but no one anticipated it would be used so heavily for sports and school activities throughout the school year.

  • The 2nd floor of the Town Hall was closed to the public in 1990 due to safety concerns and code noncompliance.

  • Currently, the space is not code compliant or equipped with adequate electrical supply.

 

Who would be allowed to use the Town Hall space?

  • Town committees/departments when meeting attendance exceeds town office capacity (e.g., Planning, Zoning, Select Board hearings)

  • Community organizations (e.g., Garden Club, 4H, Scouts, Historical Society)

  • Library

  • School

  • Explore the use policy here

 

What are some examples of activities that could take place upstairs?

  • Concerts

  • Movies

  • Plays

  • Recitals

  • Lectures

  • Presentations

  • Art shows

  • Dances

  • Town/community sponsored classes

 

How will this project affect the library?

  • Library events will benefit from the expanded meeting space; other upstairs activities will be scheduled during non-library hours

What did the Dunbarton Town Hall Restoration Committee (DTHRC) consider in developing the current plan?

  • Cost

  • Code compliance

  • Maintaining the building’s historic features and character 

  • Minimizing impacts on the meeting room and its potential uses

  • Minimal disruption to library operations 

  • Basement access from the outside (applicable to some of the designs considered)

  • Energy efficiency

  • Town use

  • Current space limitations

How long has the committee been working on this project? 

  • Twelve years. The process began in 2010; after an initial town vote, the committee reconvened with new members to assess interest and respond to town desires and concerns.

Will the addition have its own plumbing and heating and cooling systems?

  • Yes – HVAC and plumbing

In addition to basic building necessities (electrical, heat, plumbing), what does the building code for public buildings require? 

  • Universal access [stairs and an elevator or a limited use/limited application hybrid elevator (LULA); committee selected LULA to decrease expense]

  • Two egresses

  • Two accessible bathrooms, in addition to the existing bathrooms on the main floor

  • Fire suppression

What options did the DTHRC consider?  

  • Limiting all required changes to inside the existing building and replacing the existing fire escape 

  • Building an addition on the north or east side of the existing building to accommodate the stairs, LULA, required bathrooms, and library access, if applicable 

(Five design options were explored, with computer-assisted design (CAD) drawings prepared by John Stevens to clarify costs and impacts of each option.) 

 

What approach was selected, and why? 

Building an addition centered on the east side of the Town Hall because  

  • it could meet code requirements  with

  • predictable costs  

  • while maintaining the Town Hall building’s symmetry and historic character.  

Note:  The DTHRC has worked with the architect and knowledgeable builders to maintain lowest costs without sacrificing core principles. 

How will the project be paid for?

  • Funds raised by donations/events and a 2022 Town Meeting appropriation

If the plan is approved at town meeting, what is the expected impact to my taxes?

  • $0.15 for every $1,000 of assessed value. For example, $45 for a home assessed at $300,000.

 

Who developed the plan? 

Architect Dennis Mires was hired because 

  • Mires completed an extensive needs assessment for upstairs use several years ago and preliminary drawings for the 2015 vote after being selected from a number of highly qualified architectural firms.   

 

How much money has been spent so far?

Structural assessments, existing septic and Town Common plans, water tank/cistern notes, and fire sprinkler system proposals, valued at more than $16,000, have been donated. 

For the current plan (to be presented at the 2022 Town Meeting), the Dunbarton Town Hall Restoration nonprofit group has spent or allocated $50,753 for: 

  • redesign schematics 

  • detailed architectural drawings for selected design 

  • bid package specifications 

  • construction drawings  

  • large scale drawings and related assistance with public outreach

Previously, the nonprofit group spent $41,910 for: 

  • hazardous building materials assessment 

  • building, fire, and accessibility code review 

  • existing conditions and historical features report 

  • schematic designs 

  • outreach activities 

Funding for all of the above came from grants, community-wide solicitations, multiple years of Arts on the Common and other local fundraisers, a $25,000 town meeting appropriation from 2014, and donated services. A remaining unencumbered balance of $74,141 was fund-raised locally and will be contributed to construction costs.

TO DONATE:  Make checks payable to the Dunbarton Town Hall Restoration Project and mail to Town Hall Restoration, 1011 School Street, Dunbarton NH 03046; or go to https://www.dthrc.org/get-involved.

 

Current status and timeline: 

  • Construction drawings and materials specifications are complete

  • Construction bids are complete

  • Citing flat town expenses and available ARPA grant money, selectmen approved article to raise needed $58,966 in funds

  • Project to be presented for vote at 2022 Town Meeting, Tuesday March 8 at 7PM in the elementary school gym

  • If measure passes, construction to begin spring 2022 and end (barring materials delivery holdups) by fall 2022 

 

Interior work on the second floor after the addition has been completed will be undertaken largely by volunteers.  If you would like to be a part of this community work force, visit the “Get Involved” page at dthrc.org  

  

DTHRC Members 

  • Beth Boucher 

  • Sue Bracy 

  • Janet Casey 

  • Nora Lamarque 

  • Don Larsen 

  • Enid Larsen 

  • Clem Madden 

  • Curt McDermott 

  • Dave Nault, Selectmen’s Rep 

  • Cindy Pinard 

  • Margaret Watkins 

  • Shelley Westenberg 

 

The Committee meets the 4th Wednesday of the month, 7 PM at the Town Offices.  The public are welcome.

A restored Town Hall is a renewed community: