Board Favors Planning Second Egress from Meeting Room

April 23, 2024
Bedford’s Town Hall. Courtesy Image

The Bedford Select Board gave the Facilities Department the go-ahead to design an alternative egress in the board’s first-floor Town Hall meeting room on Tuesday.

Department Director Ronald Scaltreto showed drawings of a couple of options, both focusing on the window in the southeast corner as the logical site. Besides installing a door and exterior stairs, the heating and ventilation equipment “that runs through the wainscoting will need to be rerouted.”

Scaltreto said a price tag of $100,000 to $150,000 is “a very rough estimate.” Town Manager Matt Hanson said he would look into possible funding sources.

Consideration of a second way out of the room began late last summer after a disgruntled resident was arrested for disorderly conduct after refusing the chair’s directive to stop addressing the board.

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Member Paul Mortenson on Tuesday was skeptical about the need. He noted that as a Finance Committee member he has participated in many meetings there and “I am not overly concerned.

“That’s a lot of money,” Mortenson said, wondering if the practice will extend to other public meeting areas in Town Hall.

Board Chair Shawn Hanegan said his preference for a second way out is based more on the possibility of escaping a fire. 

Colleague Emily Mitchell agreed, describing the area as a room “with one small door” that could be packed with spectators. Mitchell added that she would prefer such a project to be integrated into the capital planning process.

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Marc
April 23, 2024 11:38 pm

$150K to install a door? Change the location of the meeting room.

April 27, 2024 1:11 pm
Reply to  Marc

It’s not “a door,” it’s an exit to the outside that requires punching through the wall of the building and creating external stairs, like a fire escape.

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