HARVARD -- The Hildreth House Improvement Committee could not come to a decision Monday on what recommendations they want to make to selectmen regarding Hildreth House renovations.

"We are going to convey what the discussion was tonight to the COA tomorrow and ask if they want to go ahead with the project," said HHIC Chairman Connie Larrabee.

On Tuesday, the COA discussed the renovations and agreed to support moving forward with a request for funding of Hildreth House renovations.

Last September, HHIC asked that funding of a Hildreth House project estimated at $3.7 million be placed on the Town Meeting warrant.

The Capital Planning and Investment Committee asked that the project be deferred to a later date, wanting HHIC to provide private funding.

Sharon Briggs, member of the Friends of the Hildreth House, said they will become the fundraising arm for the project.

Drayton Fair, of LLB Architects, brought a revised budget to the Monday meeting for the renovations that show Phase 1 and 2 of the project starting summer 2015. That would cost $1.6 million. The third phase would start two years later at $2.6 million.

The budget shows that if the project was completed at once, it would cost $3.6 million. The benefit of doing the project all at once would equal $584,677.

"The longer we wait to do the third phase the more money it's going to be," said Larrabee.

She expressed concern, however, that selectmen will not put the renovation on the ballot if they seek to go ahead with the project all at once.


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"We still have the same problem as last year. If it requires four out of five people to put it on the ballot, we might not get those four out of five," she said.

Phases 1 and 2 are the most crucial, said Larrabee.

Phase 1 of the project is the renovation of lower level parking and the driveway. It also consists of raising the porch and adding a vertical lift for handicapped residents.

"The computer room and some offices are upstairs and some people can't get up the stairs because there is no elevator," said Larrabee.

Phase 2 would add upper level parking, a sloped walkway access, parking turnaround, an accessible vestibule, extended covered porch and would enlarge stormwater retention.

The final phase would be to renovate the kitchen, add a large diningroom to the back of the building, remove the west stairs, add first floor accessible bathrooms, and renovate certain systems.

"People would need to move out of the building for Phase 3," said Fair.

COA liaison and selectman, Lucy Wallace said, "You probably feel most comfortable asking for funding for Phases 1 and 2 first."

Co-Chairman David Vannicola said, "Phases 1 and 2 are absolutely necessary."

"It's really hard for most people to understand and rally the muscle to say we really need this in town," she said. "This town is not living up to its responsibility to provide for its population."

"The senior population is going up," said committee member Ann Taylor.

Larrabee said she will consult with the COA liaison to the CPIC to see how to tell selectmen the HHIC would prefer the whole project be constructed at once but that they would opt for Phase 1 and Phase 2 being done first with Phase 3 on a later date.

The next HHIC meeting is Sept. 8 at 4 p.m.

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