Preliminary plans revealed for renovated Montague Town Hall basement, annex

  • The Montague Town Hall annex. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • The interior of the Montague Town Hall annex. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Preliminary plans for the Montague Town Hall annex created by Thomas Douglas Architects Inc. COURTESY IMAGE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2022 4:01:02 PM

MONTAGUE — Assistant Town Administrator Walter Ramsey shared preliminary plans for a renovated Town Hall basement and annex with the Selectboard on Monday, highlighted by a 1,840-square-foot meeting space.

Renovation of the annex was included in the town’s 2021 Downtown Rapid Recovery Plan one year after the space was vacated by the Department of Public Works. Since then, Montague has secured tens of thousands in grant funding and contracted Thomas Douglas Architects Inc. The building, which has seen limited use since 2020, will be considered for meeting, storage and creative productivity purposes.

The “largest element of the proposal,” Ramsey summarized, is “a small assembly space where we can have a meeting where we comfortably fit up to 60 people.”

“We don’t have a good meeting space at Town Hall right now,” Ramsey noted. “To accommodate groups of 10 or more people, it gets really uncomfortable real quick.”

Creation of this meeting space would come during the second of two phases “that loosely correlate into what improvements the town can make,” Ramsey said. The first phase, which includes transforming two bathrooms in the Town Hall basement into town clerk storage space and expanding entryway space, would likely cost $75,000 to $100,000, according to Ramsey. The second phase — which entails developing the meeting space, expanding multi-purpose space, replacing a bathroom and adding storage for multiple departments — would cost $800,000 to $1 million. Both phases would also involve the demolition and replacement of utility systems.

When considering the plans, Selectboard member Matt Lord was intrigued by the potential pros and cons of expanded entryway space.

“It could create a really neat, nice, welcoming space for the town and (we could) put neat art that we have in there and do fun things,” Lord commented, “or it could be this huge, empty welcome to Montague.”

He and Selectboard Chair Rich Kuklewicz also expressed concerns about town clerk storage space being scattered throughout the Town Hall basement and annex. Current plans show three small town clerk storage spaces positioned separately throughout the area. Ramsey mentioned that he, too, has observed departmental needs that would have to be addressed by the architects during future planning.

Architectural work is being fully funded by a $28,500 Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) grant, according to Ramsey. Previously, Montague also received $50,000 as part of an Economic Development Council grant to benefit a reuse study for both the annex and Town Hall basement.

Exact costs for the renovation project itself are yet to be determined. An opinion of probable cost is within the scope of work for the architect. Ramsey said the town is considering using its American Rescue Plan Act allocation as a potential funding source, but other sources would be considered, too.

Ramsey said while a project timeline has not yet been established, Thomas Douglas Architects Inc. is expected to come before the Selectboard in December for a more in-depth discussion.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or


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