The town’s new senior center will be extremely energy-efficient, taking advantage of solar power and geothermal heating and cooling systems, the project’s architect told the Sandwich Board of Selectmen Thursday, July 23.
“We’re working toward net zero,” said architect Joel Bargmann of Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, the Boston-based architectural firm hired by the town in March to bring the senior center from concept to construction.
Mr. Bargmann was referring to a net-zero energy building, which means that the energy used by the building is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.
The architect said he is working with the Cape Light Compact to design a solar power system. The firm is also looking at installing a geothermal cooling system that would take advantage of the sandy soil to drill multiple wells on the property through which water could be drawn to provide cooling.
Each room would be on its own heating-and-cooling system, which is more energy-efficient than a large central HVAC system, the architect said.
Mr. Bargmann also walked the selectmen through the rooms of the redesigned senior center.
The major challenge of designing the Center for Active Living was creating a space that is both a senior center and a recreational building, the architect said.
“We spent a tremendous amount of time on the concept of successful shared spaces,” he said, referring not only to the gym/senior center space but also to the shared space within certain rooms.
The 2,000-square-foot multipurpose room, for example, can be easily reconfigured to be a lecture area, a dining space for 140 people or a movie theater, he said.
The large kitchen will have one window that opens into the multipurpose room and another that opens into the gym. The kitchen will have space for cooking classes as well as a grab-and-go food area and walk-in food storage closets.
The new first-floor plans also include an outdoor cafe, a medical wing and the 7,000-square-foot gym.
The second-floor plans show the activity rooms, fitness areas, a conference room, a games room and the second floor of the gymnasium that will accommodate a walking track.
An entry to the gym has been added so that members of the public can access the gym without having to trek through the halls of the senior center.
The Zoom meeting was a joint meeting of the selectmen and the Sandwich Council on Aging.
At a council meeting earlier in the week, members said they were not happy that the new plans borrowed space from the council’s administrative area to make the gym slightly larger.
“The priority for this project was not driven by a gym but by a senior center,” said Patricia Collins, the council’s chairwoman.
But Ms. Collins did not mention her concerns during Thursday’s joint meeting with selectmen.
Rick Pomroy of Pomroy Associates, the town’s project manager, said he hopes to see the project put out to bid for construction in December or early next year.
When it comes time to secure bids, Sandwich could reap competitive cost benefits by being one of the few towns to have already secured funding from a Town Meeting vote, Mr. Pomroy said. Other towns are behind schedule due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
The center is expected to be ready for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the spring of 2022, Mr. Pomroy said.
The architectural firm was chosen this spring from among five firms that submitted bids for work on the Sandwich Center for Active Living, which will be located on the public safety complex at the intersection of Quaker Meetinghouse and Cotuit roads.
As envisioned by a previous architect, the proposed $16 million senior center would offer a little something for everyone. That concept and the general layout have remained the same.