Bow considers plans for new or renovated community center

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 08-14-2023 9:10 PM

The long-standing vision to modernize Bow’s Community Center, a plan that has spanned more than three decades, is once again gaining momentum with new proposals to build an entirely new center or renovate the current structure.

At a recent select board meeting, Danielle Albushies, the spokesperson for the committee overseeing the transformation of the center, said the new structure would be built on the opposite side of the street of the existing building and will provide the town with 31,158 square feet for a multi-generational community center.

The new building is expected to cost about $13.4 million and would be designed to meet the community’s demand for spaces such as pickleball and basketball, among other things.

“I have an ulterior motive as the devil does – I want something very aesthetically pleasing, there’s a lot of use to this building than we don’t get out of the current building,” said selectman Matthew Poulin, who is also on the Community Building committee. “We are committed to save as much money as possible, be fiscally responsible and make the burden on the taxpayers as minimal as possible.”

The committee also presented the select board with two alternatives for modernizing the current community center.

The most cost-effective option is to address the essential repairs in the current facility, which is anticipated to cost $3.76 million. This option, however, wouldn’t offer the same flexibility as a new or renovated facility.

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Another option involves the renovation of the existing building, including adding another 7,865 square feet of space. The projected cost for this renovation is $6.5 million.

This option would allow for expanded gym facilities, adequate bathrooms, versatile multipurpose spaces, and modernized air conditioning systems. However, it would also result in reduced parking and storage capacities at the current site.

Either of the renovation choices will leave the town without a community center for 12 to 18 months, depending on the extent of the renovation work.

There is an urgency to make these decisions as the Fire Marshal’s mandate to bring the current Community Building up to code or devise a viable plan by 2025.

The select board has not voted on any one of the recommendations and has decided to hold a public hearing to get community input.

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