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HARVARD -- As building sketches and schematic planning for the Hildreth House restoration begin to take shape, the Hildreth House Improvement Committee has started thinking about the inner details of the building plan and exactly what elements will appear in the new building.

With two bills approved at their Monday night meeting, only $1,250 remains in the group's $25,000 budget with the contracted architectural firm, LLB Architects.

LLB has provided project estimates of approximately $3.5M, but committee members feel the estimates have lacked in detailed information about what exactly is included.

"Town meeting is going to ask 'how did you get to $3.5 million if we don't get more specific," Lucy Wallace, selectmen's representative, said.

"We've got the colors and pictures and what it will look like, but we just don't know exactly what we are feeding (into this project) yet," David Vannicola, member of the Hildreth House Improvement Committee. He was speaking about the building plans' lack of detail where additions to the inside of the house are concerned, especially for heating, air conditioning, and energy.

Since the July 29 meeting, the committee has received a new HVAC, heating ventilation and air conditioning, plan from the architectural firm which describes a new system that would provide heat and air conditioning for both the addition and the existing building, whereas the earlier plan had separate systems for the house and the addition, with no plan for air conditioning in the house.


This new HVAC plan settles much of the confusion as far as detailed costs were concerned.

Talk amongst the committee also circulated about what Hildreth House would actually need to keep it a community resource for decades to come. New windows as a way to save energy costs were discussed as well as a new furnace.

"You may want new windows for aesthetic reasons, but in terms of energy, it isn't worth it," said Steve Matson, representative of the Harvard Energy Advisory Committee. He explained that the house was built in the 1800s as a three-season home, and if the windows are replaced, the insulation could still be an energy problem.

Matson said a new furnace is absolutely needed.

Member Patricia Jennings said, "What we basically had in mind for the renovation was safe parking, good lighting and a level entry way." Fellow members nodded their heads in agreement.

The committee went on to discuss further fundraising plans, and with that came the idea of having a model of the building produced. That idea was shelved, though, since it can cost $5,000 to have one made.

Other fundraising options included plans for open houses as well as a booth at the flea market. The committee would also like to identify potential large donors and speak with them sooner rather than later since applications for funding from the Community Preservation Committee are due by Sept. 27. A town-wide solicitation for donations is expected to begin in November.

"The more money we can show that we have raised, the better when we go to Town Meeting," Chairman Connie Larrabee said.

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