The old Warren Town Hall on Sackett Hill Road is about to get a facelift.

Changes will begin this summer to transform the 1949 structure into a community center.

Town offices moved last spring to the new Town Hall on Cemetery Road.

That move is allowing a $1 million renovation to the Sackett Hill building.

"It's been a long time coming," said First Selectman Jack Travers. "The project got a good reception from residents who attended an information meeting we held on the renovation" (April 7).

The project will be funded by a $500,000 capital budget, a $250,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant from the state and an additional $250,000 from the state in the form of Local Capital Improvement Project funding.

Mr. Travers said the $1 million will be spent to address code violations related to handicap accessibility and make the building more functional.

Some $200,000 in finished work is estimated to be required after the initial $1 million. Work still needed would be covered in cost through a future capital project, Mr. Travers added. Town meeting in May will vote on approval of the project, and interior demolition work would begin soon after.

Ceilings over the gym have to come down due to asbestos. The stage in the gym would be removed, with the space to be used for storage. At the other end of the gym, office space would be renovated for use by the Park and Recreation Commission.

On the lower level of the building, upgrades would be done including to the kitchen, meeting room and former offices. The town clerk's previous office, including the vault, would be set aside for use by the town's historical society.

"The good news is that the building will remain much the same on the exterior," said Historical Society member Antoinette Richardson. "And the even better news is that space has been reserved for the Historical Society's collection."

The society is considering applying for a grant to inventory the collection and determine the best way to preserve the documents in the collection, Mrs. Richardson said.

That work would be done in conjunction with any move of the documents -- And that "is a ways off," she added.