By LEE J. KAHRS
PROCTOR — The final weeks of the Proctor Town Office renovation are just ahead, and according to Town Manager Greg Maggard, the project is on schedule. So is Maggard’s future in Proctor.
Maggard, 46, was hired in June to replace former Town Manager Stan Wilbur, who retired. Upon arriving in Vermont, he stayed in a camper in Leicester under quarantine for the first two weeks before his wife and son joined him, and they lived there for the summer and part of the fall. They just closed on a house in Proctor Sept. 30, and moved in last weekend.
Maggard came to Proctor via Virginia, where he took a public works job in Colonial Beach. Maggard was the town manager in Bethel, Vermont, but left in July 2019 to take the Virginia position.
The town office project represents Maggard’s first big undertaking as Proctor’s Town Manager that he will see to completion, which is scheduled for Nov. 30.
“It may be before that, but the end of November is in the contract,” he said. “We’ll move in immediately after that.”
The town office staff moved operations to the Vermont Marble Museum just up the road and across the street in July when the $400,000 project began in earnest. It is being funded through a variety of sources, including a $230,000 bond, a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant, $50,000 from the town building fund, and $15,000 from the town’s office equipment fund.
The goal of the project was to make Proctor’s oldest building, built in 1836, handicapped- accessible and to create more storage space, which has been at a premium for years and is reduced each year as paper files and records mount.
A two-story addition on the west side on the building houses a new staircase and a handicapped lift to get to the second floor meeting room and town manager’s office. Gone are the narrow, dark, almost medieval stairs that wound down to the town clerk’s office on the first floor, which was also a rather cramped space. The area was gutted and a new concrete, radiant heated floor was put in, along with new drywall and an ADA-compliant bathroom.
Maggard said that with renovated a building as old as the town office building came a few surprises, but nothing the crew or the budget couldn’t handle. At one point on the ground floor, workers tore down the existing walls to find a support beam. Actually, it was a support log.
“It was a support beam that was an old log, cut flat on one side, and it still had bark on it,” Maggard said. “It was working, but it needed to be industry standard, so we replaced it. It’s just amazing, that the bark was still on the tree.”
As the crew exposed other elements of the building’s infrastructure, like electrical and plumbing, updates were made, Maggard said.
“Things were don differently over the years, so we just had to make sure it was all up to code, even if it was working,” he said.
The project is also within budget, Maggard said, adding that even if it goes slightly over, there are contingencies in place to address that, but that the work is being done with an eye to fiscal responsibility.
As for their time at the Marble Museum, Maggard said it’s been a good experience.
“It’s a very nice facility,” he said. “It’s been good for us. I can see it having a lot of different uses. There is plenty of space.”
And in seven weeks, or less, Maggard and the town staff will have more space in their old digs.