HARVARD -- The Town Hall move to temporary quarters in the Appleworks building on Ayer Road -- slated for August -- has been delayed until October, giving the Building Committee time to iron out design wrinkles before soliciting sub contracting and general contractor bids on the project over the next couple of months.

The plan had to be revisited recently to accommodate changes the Historic Commission made in the exterior building design, some of which THBC Chairman Pete Jackson clearly considered over the top, almost amounting to a re-do of the design.

But at the THBC meeting Tuesday night, Jackson indicated that the two groups had settled their differences and that most of the issues they wrangled over a couple of weeks ago were hashed out in subsequent sit-downs between small subgroups and the architect, wrapping up with a joint meeting of the THBC and the HC last week.

Asked about the recent meeting, Jackson said it went well. "Most of the questions have been resolved," he said, and although he hasn't seen the final HC proposal yet, he anticipates it will be "close to what we proposed."

There are still items the THBC has to clear with the HC, however, including the roof. At issue is whether the new shingles will be fake slate or another material that might be more energy efficient, cost less and/or last longer. The existing shingles are asphalt.

Owners Project Manager John Sayre-Scipona sketched out comparative costs, citing various brands, materials and categories of shingles that would meet the roof specs, with a gap of about $4,000 between shingles that look like slate and other types.


But to the Historic Commission, it's all about the look.

"They want to see samples," Jackson said. And if possible, bids for different choices.

But Town Administrator and THBC member Tim Bragan said the HC might not have the option to require the preferred imitation slate roof shingles, since the change from the original slate roof to asphalt shingles was already made years ago and most likely had to pass muster with the HC then. "You don't have to go through that again," he posited.

Besides, if the issue is about consistency in the historic district, surrounding roofs are a mix of materials and different looks, he said.

Jackson, however, wanted to focus on the current presentation. "The question is, what will the HC say when they see the samples?" he said.

Some Like it Hot

Among other things, the committee also discussed how the layout of the new addition - walls and thermostats in particular, could be configured to accommodate varied temperature preferences among employees who work in the building. Someone in one office prefers more heat than another, who likes cooler conditions, Bragan said.

The THBC plans to meet again next week, if there's sufficient business to conduct. Meantime, the HC should have had a chance to look at the roof shingle samples.