When Bob Burley and I practiced architecture together in the mid-1980s and early 1990s we had the honor of being the architects for the restoration and expansion of the Vermont State House. All during our work on this 1859 historic building I was impressed by the generosity of Vermonters who came up with the money in hard times to build a magnificent structure that would serve for many generations (over 150 years).
Now Waitsfield has the opportunity to do the same with the proposed new Town Hall. Selecting the cheapest option will not serve. This is an opportunity for the town to have a splendid new Town Hall in the right location and adaptively reuse the historic 1893 Methodist Church as well. This choice will strengthen the village and provide a suitable symbolic structure for municipal government. The question is, will the town build for future generations or look to get by in this stressed economy? Taking the long view, the math will show that amortizing the cost of a fine building over 150 years is a much better deal than amortizing a lesser structure over 50 years.