First, Star Valley’s original town hall was too hot because the cost of rented space was too high.
Then, the new town hall was too cold in a new building priced right but lacking room.
After a remodel, it should be just right.
The Star Valley Town Council last week approved a plan to expand the existing town hall onto the front porch, giving staff more privacy and security with the added benefit of extra room for council meetings.
A 64-square-foot “pop-out,” added to the northwest corner of the building will become the new office space for Chancey Nutt, town finance director and receptionist. Nutt currently resides in a corner of the front room, which serves as both a meeting room and reception area.
This arrangement leaves Nutt’s desk and any papers open to inspection.
The new pop-out will tuck Nutt into a corner with a half wall separating her from entering guests.
“We have discussed this for months and she is very comfortable with a small work space because it gives her privacy,” said Town Clerk Lois Johnson.
While costs are still unknown, any plans will need to take into account shoring up the soil, which is causing the existing porch to sag.
The town plans to build the addition when it adds a wheelchair lift to the opposite end of the porch. A grant will cover the cost of the lift as well as remodeling the bathroom so it is handicap accessible. The town will cover the cost for Nutt’s office.
The council threw around several ideas for an addition, including expanding the whole length of the porch, but ultimately decided on the smaller addition given cost and time constraints.
Since moving to town hall in May 2010, town staff has rearranged furniture in an attempt to gain space. Despite moving copy and filing systems to a downstairs office, council meetings still feel cramped, with Nutt’s desk and several large tables taking up most of the room, leaving a small area for public seating.
Councilor Vern Leis said he supported the project and made a motion instructing building official Joe Janusz to expedite hiring an architect. With the new office and handicap accessibility improvements, town hall may almost be complete. Janusz said he is still looking at ways to increase parking.
Star Valley’s town hall today is very different from the space it rented across the street.
While that location had a large reception area, several offices and a meeting room all on one level, it came at a cost. The town paid $2,065 a month in rent, with costs expected to increase.
The town paid $235,000 plus $40,000 in renovations for the new space and, best of all, it doesn’t have to worry about rent or a lease agreement.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Star Valley’s council will convene for a regular meeting at 3675 E. Highway 260. Up for discussion is appointing a third member to the board that will oversee the four-year university campus, Town Manager/ Attorney Tim Grier’s salary and posting 15 MPH speed limit signs on Valley Road.