Future uncertain for aging East Street edifice
One of New Milford's numerous treasures is the Lillis Administration Building on East Street.
Significant renovations are needed, estimated at more than $8 million.
The three-story, brick building houses the school district offices and the Youth Agency. It is a landmark in the town, serving as the high school from 1931 to 1962 and renovated as an elementary school later that decade.
Early this month, immediate repairs needed to the building were presented in a five-year capital plan during a Board of Education facilities committee meeting.
At least one school board member, William Wellman, questioned whether it might be a better idea, cost-wise, to consolidate district offices elsewhere.
The building costs just under $100,000 a year to operate. Restorations could cost more than half a million dollars in the next five years.
The single-pane, Dutch-style windows -- including an ornamental, arch-style window on the south end of the building -- are far from energy efficient. Some are actually decaying.
If they were to be replaced, each of two phases of work would be estimated to cost $113,500.
In the next five years, the boiler is likely to be near the end of its life. That project is estimated to cost more than $187,000.
Three years ago, Sevigny Architects studied four scenarios for the district offices: renovate and add on to the existing building; build new space at Northville School; renovate and add to the Richmond Citizen Center on Main Street; or build new at Sarah Noble Intermediate School.
The least costly would be new space at Northville, at $4 million.
Money concerns warrant another look at options, Mr. Wellman said.
"This is an interesting conversation to pursue between the board and the town," said school board chairman Wendy Faulenbach.
Youth Agency executive director Mark Mankin said he would prefer to stay in the Lillis Administration Building, particularly since the program requires a central location and the building is "functional."
Schools operations manager John Calhoun sees value at the aging East Street edifice.
"It's kind of a favorite of mine," said Mr. Calhoun, explaining the building's elaborate stained-glass window on the second-floor landing celebrates late presidents, authors and philosophers.
The building features glazed block walls, terrazzo tile floors, brass fixtures, and hallway-length murals painted by local artisans to depict the town's heritage, from the colonial era through to the industrial age.
Structurally, the building is as strong today as it was the day it was built, Mr. Calhoun said.