Future of the Lions Hall Discuss at Town Council

By Alex Malm

During the Oct. 17 Town Council meeting, members discussed how to move forward with the now empty, Lions Hall.
Director of Public Works, Dave Wholley, explained that the Town is looking at what to do with the building Now that the Lions Club decided it wasn’t viable for them to keep up with the maintenance after concerns were raised about the structural deficiencies in the building.
A company called Weston & Sampson recently completed a preliminary report about some of the different options the Council could consider as they head into budget season about what to do with the building going forward.
As part of the report there were three scenarios that were laid out.
The first scenario was for comprehensive repairs and renovations.
“This section describes a complete ‘gut-rehab’ of the existing building, with the goal of bringing it into first-class condition throughout. All interior and exterior finishes will be replaced, new building systems installed, and all current building code and accessibility requirements will be met,” the report reads.
The scenario assumes the general configuration of the building would remain the same, and would have “comprehensive alterations and improvements for code compliance, accessibility, and improved functionality.”
“This will include reconfigured toilet rooms, entrance area and kitchen, and the addition of a new stair/elevator at the South side of the building for full accessibility and egress code compliance. However, no change of use or occupancy is expected; the work as currently understood is generic in nature and not intended to address the specific needs of any particular Town department or other user group,” the report reads.
The estimated construction value came in at approximately $2.4 million which would be $389 per square foot.
The second scenario would be for limited repairs and alterations.
“This section describes a program of limited repairs and upgrades of the existing building, with the goal of bringing it into good operational condition throughout. Interior and exterior finishes will be repaired or refurbished, building systems serviced, new ventilation installed, and applicable current building code and accessibility requirements will be addressed,” the report reads. “Accessibility to the second floor will not be provided.”
The estimated construction cost would be $846,835 and would come out to $133 per square foot.
The third scenario would be demolition of the building and replacement.
“For comparative purposes we have developed a scenario which involves the demolition of the existing Lions Club structure and its replacement on the existing Mammoth Road site,” the report reads. “The proposed new building will therefore contain approximately the same usable interior area as the existing one but will be limited to a single story for greater space flexibility and to eliminate the need for stairs and an elevator. Direct ADA access to all areas of the building will be provided.”
Some of the changes and improvements include all areas being fully ADA accessible, having reconfigured program spaces for flexible community use, being new code-compliant for plumbing, mechanical, and electrical systems among a variety of other improvements.
The anticipated cost is $2,115,165, which is $333 per square foot
Council Chairman, John Farrell, said some people said the best idea would be to tear it down, but he said it’s a historic building and they need to find a way to be able to use it still.
Town Manager, Mike Malaguti, said with the town taking over the building they now have costs each month associated with it like the price for utilities.
With that said Malaguti added that he thinks it’s important they take their time on making a decision.
“I think it’s important that we don’t rush it. We need to get it right,” said Malaguti.
Farrell said that they are likely going to discuss it during budget season to see if they should bring it to a warrant article or not.

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