BRATTLEBORO — In Groundworks’ original plan to build a new facility on South Main Street, the organization hoped to renovate its old building and use it for administrative offices.
On Wednesday night, the Brattleboro Development Review Board learned that just isn’t possible.
Sam Duncan, of Wisniewski Architecture, said while they were removing a two-car garage and an “L” attached to 60 Main St., they discovered the integrity of the historic structure has been compromised by a termite infestation.
“We really did try to save this building,” he said, working with a structural engineer skilled in historic preservation.
But the amount of rot found and the price tag to repair the damage was prohibitive, he said.
Instead, said Josh Davis, the executive director of Groundworks Collaborative, a new building will need to be erected to house case managers, support staff and Healthworks team.
Healthworks, said Davis, is a group of embedded providers from Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Brattleboro Retreat and Health Care and Rehabilitation Services that was set up just before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duncan said the new building will look similar to the new drop-in shelter built at 54 Main Street and will occupy the same footprint as the old building.
The only portion of the old building that will be preserved is the beehive oven that was the main heating source and cook area of the house when it was built in 1780.
The replacement building will be a two-story saltbox style with a gabled roof on the backside.
Duncan said the design of the two-building campus also includes more parking and an area for folks to pull in and out without having to park on the street.
The plan was approved by a vote of 7-0.
Davis said the new building completed at 54 South Main Street will be open to clients on July 1. That building will house the organization’s drop-in shelter, as well as a kitchen, lockers and shower facilities. The building will also serve as a winter shelter for folks who are homeless.