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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 24, 2011

Should New Scotland spend $3.5M for new highway garage?

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — About 10 years after the town first started exploring the idea of renovating its highway garage, it might soon take action.

The town board, which has been weighing the benefits of renovating its current building on Route 85 against the advantages of building a new garage on Upper Flat Rock Road, is set to hear a presentation from its engineering firm, Stantec, during its meeting on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

A 2001 report produced by Vollmer Associates on the status of the current building states, “The original design of the town highway building has been compromised due to the changes in operations and personnel.  The changes made to the building have resulted in violations to the New York State Building and Fire Codes.”

Listed among the violation is the closed-off exit from the office to the outside, which means that employees would have to exit through the main garage in the case of a fire.

The office is also too small to be used by the highway supervisor, water system operator, highway foreman, and clerk as well as for a storage area for records and blueprints, the report says.  The clerk was moved the town hall, four miles from the garage, as a temporary measure about 10 years ago, Supervisor Thomas Dolin said this week.

“We have since been told that all major systems in the current facility are either out of code or basically worn out,” said Dolin, who has been supervisor for three years.  “There’s been this dilemma as to whether to rehabilitate and bring up to code the current structure” or to build a new one elsewhere.  “The board hasn’t been able to choose which path to follow,” he said.

The cost of a new facility, which would likely be at least $3.5 million, is probably what has held up the decision, Dolin said, concluding, “The cost of a new one makes you pause — we’ve been paused for 10 years.”

The cost of repairs to the existing building, not including the addition of office space, was estimated at $218,500 by Stantec last November.  That estimate includes renovations for a break room and bathroom.

The town recently spent about $6,500 to reconstruct the ventilation system, so that fresh air is drawn in from outside, Dolin said.  The lack of fresh air in the building is mentioned throughout the 2001 report.  “During the winter months, 15 employees work on trucks and equipment, dealing with gasoline, solvents, and oils, creating volatile fumes,” the report says.  “Without fresh air make-up to the main garage, fumes contaminate the breathing air for the employees.”

“We’ve run out of space for employees and administrative people,” Dolin said.  “The current building is in serious need of rehabilitation.”

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