Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oh, How We Look Forward to Town Offices Moving to The Near-New McClellan Office Building

Remember when we fantasized about this little beauty?

It was in this post dating back about a year and a half ago.

We can’t remember exactly when the McClellan Building was constructed by Bowdoin College.  But we figure that the average citizen driving by would conclude it’s in ‘like new’ condition, especially compared to other town properties, such as Federal St. offices, our dilapidated school buildings, etc.

You know where it is…right near the location where The Glamorous Pig should be opening soon, once we get the tax breaks from the town that are de rigueur in such matters.  We may have to change our name to J. Poppycock Projectile to make it happen, but we’re easy when it comes to such things.

Last we can recall, the town was planning on spending around $800,000 or so, up from early projections of $300,000, to ‘adapt’ the building for town use.  We don’t think any of that sum was characterized as remediating ‘deferred maintenance issues.’

Color us surprised, then, when we became aware of these troublesome little details of McClellan Building condition, before our municipal operation moves into the building.

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Many of you may consider these odds and ends to be ‘down in the noise.’  Yet taken in the context of this town’s penchant for declaring facilities ‘beyond repair and in need of replacement,’ and the ready availability of architects and consultants who will gladly document the hidden crises and financial black hole hidden inside the walls, we can’t help but be a bit concerned.

Perhaps the building was designed and constructed with a useful life expectancy of 30 years or so, and by the time our town staff moves in, it’s at half it’s projected life.  You don’t want to throw good money at a building that’s in it’s latter years, do you?

Then there’s the problem of diesel fumes attacking the exterior materials and finish of the building.  It was built well before anyone knew the trains would be coming.

But as we know all to well, progress comes with a price.  And Bowdoin College ain’t no dummy when it comes to playing cards.  

You gotta know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em.

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  1. This is not a case of "a little putty and a little paint, will make it what it ain't", this building is in need of major wood trim replacement, and there may be areas of serious rot that are lurking beneath the surface. This is going to cost a pile of money to rectify. One can be confident, though,that a "pre-qualified" contractor can be located around town, and will do a superb job at spending the taxpayer's money.

  2. Oh ye of little faith, Mitch.

    I've had some significant repairs on my own house from water damage, fortunately all covered by insurance. A little problem over there turns out to be a 'tell' for a much larger problem once things get stripped away. Have also seem similar things on numerous buildings around town.

    No telling how big the problem is until you start peeling things away. Could easily be very big bucks, as you say. No problem; we've got it.

    If you start fixing things with Azek, and have to replace any framing underneath the siding, watch out. The multiplier is huge.

  3. Who was it that inspected this property for the Town prior to the deal with the College, I wonder....