By Grace Moore
The Moorcroft Town Center planning commission met for the second time Monday night to further discuss the future of the build
ing. The difference, though, according to Councilman Dick Claar, is that they are now thinking in phases, making the enterprise far less daunting.
The council has asked the commission to investigate the actual feasibility of moving town hall and the police station into the newest part of the building immediately north of the community garden; in this first phase, Councilmen Ben Glenn and Dick Claar and commission member and former master electrician Charlie Britton have done just that.
Britton ascertained a ball park figure from Nelson Glass of Gillette for up-to-date windows per room within the section in question of around $5600; the cost would be even less if, as the suggestion has been made, many of the existing windows be walled in for increased energy efficiency.
Member Fred Devish suggested, “You could use some copper clad, metallic or whatever over the top [window], everything but the bottom leaving two windows for light.”
Glenn added that, for energy efficiency, fewer windows are a better choice, saying, “The best you’ll ever get from your window is about an R5 or R7 [insulation rating] with a good window and with a conventional wall, you’ll get an R23. If you’re looking at the heating and cooling factor, it’s better to have fewer windows and more wall.”
As the commission walked through the space again Monday, they discussed how duct work can be installed above the dropped ceiling for heating and air conditioning and the dedication of a machine (HVAC) room. They also talked about possibly installing security glass partitions between the two outside doors and the hall and rooms of the town hall and police department, allowing limited access.
There will be no jail, as Claar stated. “That’s really high in liability; we can’t lock people up without getting into real liability issues,” he said. Britton explained that the town does not use the existing jail for that reason.
Britton showed the current electrical room and explained, “All the internet, the phone and everything tags in right here. For each one of these rooms, all you have to do is identify the jacks in the room and away you go.”
As the group talked, the question of the public library moving into the specified space, which had been part of the original plan, was brought up, and Claar reminded the group why the county library did not move into the MTC when first invited.
“They wanted to move in there…but they wanted us to remodel it,” he said.
However, while not off the table, according to Glenn, “The first room of Starfish is bigger than what they have now [or] maybe they [the county] wants to buy our old building.”
Claar advocates the transfer of town hall to the MTC, saying “I think the town hall [moving to the MTC] would be great because if we’ve got town hall up here, we’ve got traffic up here, then we’ve got people up here and we’ve got some interest.”
“If you’re going to move town hall up here,” opined Britton, “We’ve got heat in the building, we’ve got lights in the building, all of the internet and all of the phone lines are centrally located in the one room.”
There is, according to him, no need to “redo everything” as has been suggested in the original study conducted by Kyle Gillette of Gillette.
Member Tracy Jones was asked about and agreed to explore available grants for upgrading lighting. Claar went on to say that the inefficient gymnasium lights are the “biggest expense right now, if we can replace those with energy efficient lights, we’d cut our costs on those to a quarter of what they are now”.
The MTC budget was $30000 for the 2017/18 fiscal year and with the income from Starfish and the rented units, the building will, in fact, match that number this year.