Oak Bluffs town employees are gearing up for a move into temporary work trailers as the long-awaited town hall renovation project is set to begin early next month.

The construction start date is Oct. 9.

Town employees will work from temporary trailers for the next year. — Mark Alan Lovewell

After nearly a decade of designs, redesigns and failed votes, in June, Oak Bluffs voters approved $13.3 million to completely redesign and renovate the town hall. The general contractor for the project is Delbrook JKS Construction of Falmouth. Completion date is set for September 2021.

Oak Bluffs town administrator Robert Whritenour said the town is excited about the move into the new work space and to get the renovation project started. “We think when the project is done it’s really going to be a major benefit to the local residents. They’ll have much easier access to the town services because the design (of the building) is geared toward that,” he said.

The new three-story building will be highly energy efficient and fully accessible for people with handicaps, among other features.

“The layout of the new building will be a lot easier for residents to navigate, you’ll be able to walk in the building and know exactly where to go. We’re 100 per cent committed to making sure we’re totally accessible and there for the local residents,” Mr. Whritenour said.

In the interim, all town hall offices will be located in the temporary trailers across the street from the current town hall. One side of the temporary building will house departments that handle permitting, such as the board of health, the building department and the conservation commission. The other side of the building will house offices for the town administrator, the tax collector, the town accountant, town clerk and other municipal personnel.

Due to the pandemic, members of the public needing town hall services are asked to make an appointment. Contact information, email addresses and phone numbers for all town departments are available on the town website (oakbluffsma.gov).

“It will be different, so we ask for people’s patience as we remodel the town hall,” Mr. Whritenour said. “We have made it a point to make sure all the services are very accessible to residents during the construction.”

On Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, the Sterling Movers Company will begin moving all the furnishings from the current town hall to the temporary trailers. On Oct. 2, there will be limited municipal services available via appointment. The temporary town hall will be fully open for business on Monday, Oct. 5.

“Everyone is enthusiastic and looking for ways we can be more accessible to the public and help people out. In Oak Bluffs people have a really good attitude about trying to be helpful,” he said.