LTE Cappellini on Plymouth Bond Vote

To the voters of Plymouth

In Spring 2021, the Town of Plymouth contracted with Maclay Architects in Waitsfield, Vt.

Maclay completed a Net Zero energy report and requisite building renovation plan for the current Plymouth Town Hall facility, which can be found on the Town of Plymouth’s website.

At the time, the projected cost of implementing this Net Zero building renovation plan was roughly one million dollars.

Since that time, global supply chain problems, inflation, and contractor backlogs have significantly increased the cost of completing a Net Zero renovation project.

Moving forward, and in deciding which way to re-cast their vote for the bond necessary to complete the full project, Plymouth voters should consider all of the following points:

  1. The current town hall facility is a metal span structure with separately-framed office space, erected in the early 1970’s. Metal span structures of this type, then and now were never designed to be “Net Zero” structures.
  2. Net Zero-style structures by their very nature are designed or modified to be “tight” structures, in that they do not “breath” or “leak” like a typical structure, but instead require an impenetrable insulation envelope.
  3. To transform the current metal span structure into a “tight” structure requires a significant investment in very expensive roof modifications and prefabricated wall panels. Moreover, the Macclay-recommended heat pump technology, ventilation systems, and solar panels are all highly expensive options.
  4. The Maclay plan originally presented several different options, one of which was simply performing deferred maintenance on the current town hall facility, which would include a new roof, new bay doors for the shop, and a new propane heating system (and to that end, the selectboard already and just recently had installed a brand-new high efficiency propane boiler for the town hall offices).
  5. For the already-approved $950k, it would be largely possible to erect a brand-new metal span structure for use by the Highway Department and Fire Department, and then relocate the town offices to the former school building/current community center.

The town of Plymouth already owns and maintains the former school/current community center. It’s a masonry structure in good condition that would require minimal modifications to be repurposed as the town offices.

Ultimately, voters must decide what’s in the best interests of the town, all things considered, and whether or not they’re willing to put the town into debt to achieve it.

Voters must keep in mind that a vote of “Yes” for the bond will mean the borrowing of up to $800k, and an increase in municipal taxes. This will be on top of a projected increase of 16% in education taxes due to the $75 million bond for the new middle/high school building in the WCSU.


Keith Cappellini

Plymouth Selectboard Member

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