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Killington Board mulls museum

KILLINGTON - Killington's board of selectmen is pondering whether, and how, to convert the dilapidated teen center building into a home for the Sherburne Historical Society.

The board took the matter under consideration at its regular meeting on June 4.

"The last we met on this issue," Town Manager Seth Webb told the board, "the board moved to loan Sherburne historians $250 to help fund a review of the teen center building, as they were interested in saving it and using it for a museum. The total review cost $500; the match was paid by a grant. A group called McKiernan Construction was brought on to review the structure, and make recommendations for improving it."

McKiernan, a Brandon-based construction company, examined problems with the foundation, roof, walls, interior finishes, access, mechanical, and electrical systems. They recommended cleaning out the basement, removing the part of the foundation that was no longer usable, pouring in some fill, and converting the foundation to a crawl space.

"The highlights of their proposal," Webb said, "related to the walls, related to the roof, it says there's a repair needed where the chimney was removed, related to the walls, it says the vinyl siding is reaching the end of its useful life. It shields the building from the weather, but is aesthetically unappealing, the condition and the extent of the original wood trim is unknown."

The McKiernan analysis also called for a code review, updating the electrical system, and does not include air conditioning or heat. That would render the building useful for only part of the year, and the estimated cost came to $77,050.

Webb added, "What that estimate does not include, it does not provide climate control, which may or may not be necessary for storing historical documents. In most cases it is necessary, but I am learning that there are some new ways to maintain documents without climate control. We would need to look into what fresh air exchange requirements exist for newly renovatedbuildings. If there is over 50 percent renovation, these new requirements occur.

"For example," he continued, "the town office doesn't have these requirements right now. I did ask McKiernan to give a second estimate on how much it would cost to bring this building up to speed and be open year-round... if we put some type of HVAC system in there, he said it would run on the order of an additional $25,000 to $30,000, which would include stripping the walls, insulating them, coating the ceiling and floor with urethane foam, replacing the drywall, and other things."

Selectman Bernard Rome wanted to know where the money would come from.

"We were given $10,000 from Irene," said Sherburne Historical Society president Peggy Mowle. "The main thing that we would like is the initial acknowledgment that the Sherburne Historians could take over the building and start the process."

"After the process is complete, how do you propose to staff the building?" Rome asked.

"Volunteers, and it would be on days that the library is open," Mowle replied. "Two-hour intervals. One or two days a week. Usually we would be open if somebody had to do some research. Mostly summer and spring, and be closed after foliage for the winter."

Rome said the cost estimate sounded too low.

"$25,000 for heating the building and scraping the walls?" he asked.
Webb said the existing money might not go very far. "It's a very, very conservative in terms of low," he said. "There's one immediate challenge. There's $10,000 left of insurance money. The decision is, what do you do with that? If we use that $10,000 to start repairing it, it's not enough to do full repairs to bring the building back up to speed. In the short term, we'd incur more of a mold problem, because we have a continual water leakage in there, which could add to the cost of future repairs."

"So the town would continue to own it, but the historical society would operate it," Rome said.

"I think that's the idea," Webb replied.

Rome wanted to know why the society wanted the teen center.

"It's the right size for us," said Mowle. "We've asked the teen center if we could have it. We didn't get it then. We heard they might want to do a demolition on it. It should be preserved."

Because the current cycle of grants has expired for this year, Webb said, any grant requests would have to wait until May next year.

"So it sounds like we have a little bit of time to see if the ball gets rolling," said Chairman Chris Bianchi. "We don't need to take an action right now."

Webb said a little time would be needed to develop a plan, and the board left the matter at that.