Norwich Forum to Mull Town’s Facilities Needs

Norwich — The town is holding a public forum tonight to update residents about potential future improvements to the public works, fire and police facilities.

Town officials have been discussing updating the facilities for several years. The Selectboard last year reviewed a report by Mink Brook Management that analyzed the regulatory and functional deficiencies of all three buildings.

Among other things, the report found that the police station — located in a ranch house behind the public library — is plagued by a leaky roof and infested with beetles, lacks adequate space to store evidence, has insufficient and inadequate lockers and training rooms, and doesn’t have a secure area to conduct interviews and interrogations.

Town Manager Neil Fulton said the town hired Bread Loaf Corp. at a cost of nearly $26,000 to conduct a study that looked at the anticipated additional space each building would require to meet its functional needs in five and 20 years.

For example, the Bread Loaf report shows that the public works facility is too small for its needs. It doesn’t have enough space to store equipment, nor does the director have an office and there isn’t a facility for employees to shower. The report outlined how much additional space it would take to implement the changes, Fulton said.

The forum will take place at 7 p.m. in the Selectboard meeting room in Tracy Hall.

After tonight’s meeting, the Selectboard will meet on Sept. 25 to discuss which space needs are appropriate for Norwich.

Norwich’s police department moved into the ranch house in the early 1990s for what was supposed to be a temporary basis while renovations were being made to Tracy Hall — and it never left. Fulton said he expects that the police force will need a new building.

But any additions or construction of a new building would require a bond issue and voter approval, and Fulton said he doesn’t expect a proposal to come before voters until 2015.