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Wolfeboro town hall offices on the move

Special to the Union Leader

July 16. 2014 10:52PM
The town hall moves over to Huggins Hospital next week, while renovations are under way at the Brewster Memorial Town Hall in Wolfeboro. (Courtesy)

Wolfeboro Town Offices, located in the Brewster Memorial Town Hall on North Main Street, will close the week of July 28 when personnel, furniture and essential documents move to temporary headquarters at Huggins Hospital.

Town hall personnel will occupy the 3,021-square-foot vacant former obstetrics wing at the south side of the hospital, with access from Christian Ridge Road off South Main Street. The imminent beginning of construction at the Town Hall renovation necessitates the move.

Voters at town meeting last March approved, by a vote of 1,084-645, Warrant Article 7, to raise and appropriate $4 million for the project. While most of the cost will be bonded, the town also voted to lower the bond by $736,000 in donations and pledges generated the nonprofit Friends of Wolfeboro Town Hall, Inc. Another $110,301 in a town office facility capital reserve account will also be used to pay for the renovation of the 114-year-old building.

Town Manager Dave Owen said the move has been in the planning stages since the warrant article was approved.

“All of the departments have been busy sorting through their old records with their retention schedules in hand to determine anything that can be thrown away,” Owen said.

The state provides a retention schedule of what documents a municipality must retain and for how long. For instance, minutes of Board of Selectmen minutes must be retained. “We’re downsizing as much as we can,” said Owen. He said permanent records will not be moved to the interim town offices, but stored at the town’s Municipal Electric Building on Lehner Street. Professional movers have been hired to physically move boxes and furniture to the new building on July 28 and July 29. Personnel will spend the remainder of the week unpacking and setting up.

Owen said cost of the leased space at Huggins is $6,250 a month, which comes out to $12.68 a square foot. The town will occupy the interim offices for a year.

Offices to reopen Aug. 4

Town Offices are scheduled to reopen to the public at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 4, at the Interim Town Offices, 240 S. Main St. A drop box for billing and collections shall be available outside the entrance to the interim offices. Owen said that arrangements have been made with All Saints’ Episcopal Church to allow for personnel parking.

Dedicated in 1890 as Brewster Memorial Hall, the Romanesque Revival building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It has served the town at various times as the public library, the police department, a bank and private businesses. The large hall on the second floor served as a voting place and hosted town meetings, movies, concerts and dances. In 2004, citizens approved the acquisition of the building from the Brewster Trust for $1 with the intention that it continue to serve as Wolfeboro’s Town Hall, according to the Friends of Town Hall. Previously, the town was paying about $30,000 in annual rent to the Brewster Trust for the space.

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