Residents who attend New Whiteland Town Council meetings or drop by the town’s offices to pay their sewer bills will go to a new building in the fall.
By October, the town will move its police department, council chambers and town hall offices into a small center on Tracy Road that currently houses the New Whiteland Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and an accounting firm.
New Whiteland is consolidating its offices and police department in the roughly 5-year-old building, which the town is buying for $535,000, as a less-expensive alternative to renovating its older buildings. Updating the current offices would cost about $850,000, town manager Terry Spencer said. The town is paying for the new building and some renovations out of the $4.5 million it earned selling its water utility.
Officials also considered building on a 1-acre property the town owns on Tracy Road, but an estimate for a new building was about $1.5 million, Spencer said.
The town hall and police station were built more than 60 years ago, are poorly insulated and not energy efficient. Due to the lack of insulation, the town hall door frosts over on the inside during the winter, and employees create makeshift cardboard walls under their desks to block cold breezes, Spencer said. After additions over the years, the town hall now has multiple furnaces and five air conditioning units. He said the electrical wiring is outdated, and plugging in a vacuum cleaner or a fan can trip a breaker.
Officials were considering updates to the buildings, but the owner of the 8,800-square-foot building on Tracy Road offered a better deal. The town will be able to buy and renovate the newer building for about $300,000 less than the cost of upgrading the existing buildings, and the town will save money with the more efficient building.
The police department, town manager, clerk-treasurer and office clerks will work in the new building. Employees from the fire, street and sanitation departments will continue to work out of separate buildings.
The town could possibly sell both the old police station and town hall, he said.