Opening for business

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Hampton banks on the future with new town offices

By Nancy Rineman

Atlantic News , November 18, 1999

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News ]

Photos of the old and new town offices, and town manager James Barrington

HAMPTON – All eyes are on 100 Winnacunnet Road this week, as the new location for the Hampton Town offices is about to become a reality.

With the last selectmen’s meeting in the old building now history, residents will be viewing a work in progress the latter part of this week, as the major moving of furniture, built-in shelves, and computers take place. At Monday night’s selectmen’s, meeting, Town Manager James Barrington said 95 percent of the clean-up had been done at that time, with just some minor touch-up work and carpet cleaning issues to be addressed.

“We’ll be up and running,” Barrington said, with a return to business occurring on the morning of Friday, November 19, after the major move Thursday, Nov. 18.

On a recent tour of the former Citizens Bank, Barrington pointed out the spaciousness town employees and officials will enjoy in the new location. The three levels housing offices of all the administrative departments plus the Hampton Parks and Recreation Department will include additional meeting and conference rooms, six restrooms, ample storage, and even a break room with a stove and sink for employees wanting to eat lunch at their workplace away from their desks.

Barrington pointed out expansion created in such departments as the Town Clerk (with three windows now rather than the two available in the old quarters), and the drive-up tax collector's windows as being just a small example of the many changes awaiting Hampton residents. He also pointed out the savings incurred as a result of using a carpenter on the staff of the Public Works Department as well as savings on the cost of materials as far as  cabinetry  was concerned, Barrington said the contractor “bent over backwards, [and had] done an exceptional job, exhibiting “fine workmanship.”

Barrington said the building, built as a bank in 1970, provided a lot of touches which would have cost considerably more to build, such as the remaining spiral staircase, glass atrium, and marble on the exterior.  In addition,  the bank was quite generous, Barrington said, leaving credenzas, desks chairs and conference tables for the new Town Office, a savings Barrington estimated as being $20,000 or $30,000.

The ride on the much-maligned elevator, a feature necessary to make the building ADA compliant, was quick and quiet.

“The public will know they made the right choice.” Barrington said of the entire project.

One of the goals of that project was to make the new facility feel homey, Barrington said, not like a cold institution.

Barrington said when he moved to New England, he was immediately struck by how involved people are in their community.

“People here care,” Barrington said, “about 100-year-olds [residents] and about buildings.”

The official opening of the new Town Office will be held on Monday, November 22, starting at 4 p.m. with refreshments and walk-throughs, following by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. and the regularly scheduled selectmen’s meeting at 7 p.m.

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