Plans Presented for New Town Buildings

Renderings show a new building in which East Hampton Town departments would be consolidated. L.K. McLean Associates

A new building in a consolidated campus for East Hampton Town’s public offices took a step forward on Tuesday with a presentation to the town board by architects from L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven.

The new building, likened to three potato barns connected by atriums made of aluminum storefront framing and glass, would be the principal structure on the Pantigo Road property, while the current Town Hall would remain intact. 

The project calls for the demolition of the former Town Hall, which has been vacant for some time, expanded parking, and new lighting and landscaping. The cost is estimated to be $8.5 million. 

Joe Catropa and Matt Jedlicka, the architects, delivered a PowerPoint presentation illustrating their vision for a 12,000-square-foot “open office plan” in the new building, which they said would accommodate present and future needs.

“The town has had a longstanding interest to bring all of the town offices onto one central campus in order to make it more efficient for our residents and visitors to access those town offices,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said as he introduced the McLean architects. “It also builds greater efficiency between offices and departments.” 

“It was always the intent . . . to complement the existing building,” Mr. Catropa said, referring to the current Town Hall, a historical structure, and to be “the barn behind the main house.”

Mr. Catropa recommended an “open office furniture system” based on the unique needs or methodologies of the different departments, he said, such as interaction with the public. 

“We’re very concerned about acoustics, very concerned about privacy,” Mr. Catropa said. To that end, the interior space would employ sound masking, which uses specially tuned ambient background noise that targets the same frequency as human speech, reducing its intelligibility. Sound masking is “used in open-office environments very successfully,” Mr. Catropa said. “When it’s on, you can have a private conversation; when it’s off, you hear everybody.”

The three barns forming the new building would have the “maximum amount of solar on the roof facing south,” Mr. Catropa said. They also would have an energy-efficient, under-floor air distribution system that was the best choice for an open-office concept, according to Mr. Jedlicka. It is “a gas-fired system, but an air-to-air heating system, so it doesn’t need a very large gas supply to heat,” he said. 

A subterranean area under part of the southernmost barn would house an employee lounge and a large area for file storage, “something that the town definitely needs,” Mr. Catropa said. Parking would be expanded and traffic circulation improved, he said. 

 The sale of space the town owns at 300 Pantigo Place would offset the cost of the consolidated campus, Mr. Van Scoyoc said. 

The process of removing the files stored in the former Town Hall has begun, Mr. Catropa said. “The only thing remaining is the technology and the phones.” 

Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez noted that a planned emergency-care facility at 400 Pantigo Place, for which the town board will hold a public hearing tonight, would mean increased traffic in the area, including of emergency vehicles. “So you need to integrate this,” Councilwoman Sylvia Overby told Mr. Catropa, “with what the hamlet study looks like for this section of town. Make sure that that’s addressed.” 

Mr. Van Scoyoc agreed, saying improving circulation between Pantigo Place and the Town Hall complex should be discussed. “There’s a high potential for a stoplight at that intersection, with an emergency room being built there,” he said.

The new building was likened to three potato barns connected by atriums made of aluminum storefront framing and glass.L.K. McLean Associates
Architects have recommended an “open office furniture system” based on the unique needs or methodologies of the different departments. Above, a rendering by Waldner's furniture shows what that could look like.L.K. McLean Associates