The Bourne Department of Natural Resources could be on the move out of town hall.
The town might relocate the department to the East Rotary and into the former Tamarack Technology building, which is now owned by Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
News of discussions between the two sides came out during the Bourne Capital Outlay Committee meeting on September 10.
At the time, committee members were discussing a recent report detailing recommended repairs to town facilities.
As Facilities Manager Shawn Feeney spoke about plans for replacing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at town hall, committee chairman Mary Jane Mastrangelo asked about replacement of the HVAC system in the natural resources and town administrator’s offices.
Mr. Feeney said the current system is good for another year, and changing systems would be unwise given the uncertainty of the natural resources office location.
“I know there are thoughts of maybe moving them over to that MMA building at the rotary. If that’s still something that we might go ahead with, and we expand the administrator’s office, we wouldn’t want to do all the HVAC and duct work now, where we would change the structure of the office around in the future,” he said.
The news caught committee members by surprise. Member John E. Redman asked if Mass Maritime was giving up use of the building. Town Administrator Anthony E. Schiavi confirmed the town has been in discussions with Mass Maritime officials about the potential relocation of the natural resources office.
“We’re trying to see if we can’t work out an agreement to potentially move our DNR office down there,” Mr. Schiavi told the committee.
The administrator said the move would provide natural resources staff with more office room. He described the current situation, adjacent to the town administrator/board of selectmen’s office as being “packed in like sardines.” Discussions between the two sides began before the onset of COVID-19 this year, and the move would also free up space in town hall, he said.
“We’re just really space-constrained,” he said.
Mass Maritime purchased the Tamarack Technology building in January 2015 for $1.5 million.
The academy’s vice president of operations, Captain Allen G. Metcalfe Jr., confirmed the two sides have been in discussions since spring.
“Presently we are in the design phase, with demolition of the defined interior spaces proceeding shortly. Discussions of use allocation are proceeding with the town now,” he said.
The 30,000-square-foot building is on five acres just off the East Rotary in Buzzards Bay, near the Bourne Bridge Liquor Store. Capt. Metcalfe said the natural resources department would occupy approximately 1,500 square feet in the building.
Ms. Mastrangelo noted a 2009 report on town facilities, the Cecil Report, recommended the possibility of moving the natural resources department out of town hall. The department, she recalled, “had no interest at that time.”
Ms. Mastrangelo also expressed surprise at negotiations with Mass Maritime being underway, with no notification to town board or committee heads.
“I don’t think we had any idea there was a consideration of somehow moving things to the MMA building at the rotary. That might be something we should plan on talking about at some point in time,” she said.