Who would have ever thought that taking a trip to the local town hall would entail walking past old medical syringes, human skulls and bones or an out of date stethoscope?
Though this may sound out of the ordinary for many, it is a reality for Castleton residents these days. Castleton’s town hall has been temporarily moved to Castleton State College’s Old Chapel, which was in the past was used for the college’s nursing and medical program.
The Old Chapel has many antique medical tools on display that are now seen daily by residents and town workers, a major change of scenery compared to the traditional filing cabinets and desks at the old Main Street town hall.
Town Manager Charles Jacien explained last week that the old town hall poses health and safety risks because of mold, which alone could cost the town an estimated $50,000-$60,000 to fix.
“Dave [Wolk] saw we were in need of a place and contacted me saying he had a space available,” Jacien said.
Castleton State College President Dave Wolk, who read about the potential closing of the town offices in the Rutland Herald, offered a helping hand to the town of Castleton.
“I called the Town Manager to offer them a new home,” said Wolk about his decision to offer the Old Chapel as a temporary fix to the town’s office problem.
“I want the college to be a good neighbor,” Wolk said, adding that the college has offered the Chapel to the town free of charge.
Wolk explained that the arrangement has been working out well and he will continue to offer the college as a place to use for public purposes as needed.
“The town is very grateful to the college,” said Select Board Member Cristine Smith expressing her thanks to the college and Wolk. Smith, a former Castleton student, believes that the college and town have always had a good relationship that will continue to grow.
The town offices will be moving out of the Old Chapel by Nov. 1 and into temporary office trailers until a long term solution is decided upon.
“We do not want to overstay our welcome,” Smith said, adding that the Select Board is trying hard to find a more permanent location for town hall. The Board’s goal is to propose three different plans to voters in March 2012 including the options to renovate the existing town hall, purchase a new building or to start from scratch and build a brand new town hall.
The decision will ultimately be decided by voters of the town of Castleton. Regardless of the chosen option, it could potentially take a year or more to get a permanent town hall up and running.