The time to demolish East Hampton’s old town hall, which sits, empty, behind the new town hall on Pantigo Road is getting closer, now that Eddie Schnell, the East Hampton’s communications wizard, is putting the finishing touches on rerouting all communication lines to the new structures.
Earlier this month, Schnell supervised the digging of a long trench snaking from the Communications Building which sits behind the town justice court, and adjacent to the town’s communications tower. The trench ran south across the great lawn that sits in front of the courthouse, then a sharp turn west to the new town hall.
The new town hall is comprised of a series of colonial-era buildings donated to the town by Adelaide de Menil in 2007. They were knitted together in a project designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and completed in 2010.
As the trench was being excavated by a crew earlier this month, large conduit pipes that will eventually contain the communications lines were laid in. “This is to get data and everything else to new Town Hall from the other back buildings, as well as from 300 Pantigo,” Schnell said. He was referring to the address is the office complex to the east of the courthouse which houses various town departments, such as building and planning, as well as the offices for boards whose members are appointed by the town board, such as the zoning board of appeals.
“The communications building already has connections to the police precinct, which itself is connected to the court and the parks department,” Schnell said.
Joanne Pilgrim, executive assistant to Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, explained on Monday, May 20, the history of the project, and the old town hall. She said that, previously, there had been a plan in place to rebuild or redesign the old building. “That is no longer on the table,” she said. “It is an eyesore. It is moldy. It is going to become a danger.”
Because the plan had originally been to use the building in some fashion, there was no need to reroute the communication lines. “There is an overall effort to move forward with improvements to the town campus. We’re going to get everything out of the old building.” Besides the communication lines, “everything” includes the water mains for the town hall complex, which are still in the old building.
Moving the water mains and communication lines were part of the larger demolition project that the town accepted bids on. The town board awarded the project to Keith Grimes Incorporated recently for around $300,000.
Other improvements on the campus include expanding the parking area around the courthouse into what was once an impound lot for the police, and adding more electric car charging ports near the police precinct building.
Once the old town hall is razed, Pilgrim said, it will be replaced with clean fill.