“This morning when I came into work my office was 47 degrees” because the furnace wasn’t working, he said. “It’s just one problem after another.”
Stillman said he likes the plan recommended by the Maguire Group, which calls for a new 18,000-square-foot police station across from the town’s Department of Public Works on Washington Street and next to a proposed new senior center. The current station has about 11,000 square feet of space for the 39-officer department.
“I think it’s a great plan, but I’m not hugely optimistic” about its chances, Stillman said. “I’ve been let down before.”
For his part, Amaral said he cared most that the Old Town Hall is preserved and remains open to the public, whether it’s publicly or privately owned.
The Maguire Group examined 21 municipal buildings, checked out potential development sites, spoke with town leaders, examined town finances, studied school enrollment trends, looked at comparable factors in neighboring towns, and reviewed previous proposals and reports before recommending five major projects:
■ $5 million for a 15,000-square-foot senior center on Washington Street, across from the Department of Public Works. The senior center now occupies one wing of the present-day Town Hall, which was originally Walpole’s Stone School.
■ $8.7 million for a police station, also on Washington Street across from the DPW. The two-story, handicapped-accessible building would share parking with the senior center.
■ $11.7 million for the central fire station. The project would involve building a new fire station at the current site to accommodate all the town’s firefighting equipment and renovating the adjacent Old Town Hall for Fire Department offices.
■ $3.5 million for renovations, an addition, and site upgrades to the DPW site.
■ $48.9 million for a combined middle school, replacing two current middle schools.
The study also recommended improvements at many other town-owned properties. Selectmen plan to hold public forums on the study, starting on Feb. 26.
“We want to get taxpayer input, and then make some difficult decisions,” Kraus said.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.