The schematic shows the new addition to the second floor of the town office building.  Kate Cutko

Bowdoinham town officials are considering renovating the town office building.

The project would improve handicap access to the town’s public library on the second floor, said Town Manager Nicole Briand.

In 2016, the library participated in a survey conducted by AARP, where they learned that many older citizens in the town were not using the library because there is no proper handicapped access.

“There is a wheelchair ramp in the back of the building, but the parking for the use of that ramp is awkward and difficult for people to use,” said Kate Cutko, library director.

“We have an anonymous donor in town who has pledged the cost of a new entrance to the second floor,” said Cutko. “It is designed by an architect, and we have shared the drawings with the public and that is what prompted the town manager to explore the idea of making renovations to the town office at the same time.”

Cutko said the renovations will make it easier to access the public meeting room where the select board and planning board meet.

Betsy Steen, head of Bowdoinham Historical Society, said the project would provide better access for people who need handicapped entrance.

“What we have now, I think is adequate, but probably not. It’s somewhat hidden, and so I think a lot of people don’t know about it,” said Steen. “There is space for only two cars at the parking space, so that makes it difficult.”

Steen added the town office building has a good history and she is glad that the town is considering renovating the whole building.

Bowdoinham has a population of 3,130 residents, of which more than 600 residents are above the age of 65.

The project also involves increasing the fire rating between floors and installing a fire suppression system.

“For the library to be able to add the addition for access, the building has to be brought up to the fire code,” said Briand. “The building is not in bad shape. It is just in need of building and system updates.”

The officials plan to put the project out to bid this winter to request funding during the June 2022 town meeting. If the town approves the funding, the project will take eight to 10 months to complete.

Briand said they would be working on the project estimates and relocation plans over the upcoming months.

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