The Chelmsford Country Club’s function room will be demolished this winter at a cost of no more than $9,800.
The demolition will take place in the new year due to previously scheduled events, and the process is expected to be complete in time for the spring golf season.
“I don’t think we can risk the safety of the public,” said Town Manger Paul Cohen at last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting.
The function hall is crumbling for three main reasons according to Jonathan Longchamp, a structural engineer with Chelmsford roots.
“Repair is not a viable option,” he said before explaining the “three strikes” that the building has against it.
First, Longchamp explained that the original construction was poorly planned and executed. Second, he described decaying walls behind the building's vinyl siding. Third, there is little to no foundation supporting the building; it was built over what used to be a deck.
“It appears to be beyond salvageable,” Longchamp said.
Kevin Osgood, manager of the Country Club for 16 years, also addressed the board.
“The golf course needs help,” he admitted, stating that the net profit of the club would be reduced by $12,000 without the presence of the function hall.
“It will stay at the status quo until we get some help,” he continued. “If I could I’d tear the entire building down and build up a new clubhouse.”
The board members expressed regret over the course of action decided upon.
“None of us are happy with this vote, but we don’t want a building falling down on us,” admitted board chairman Jon Kurland.
A plan for the eventual successor to the function hall is already in the works. Deliberation will continue at the board’s next meeting on January 7.
Rebuilding the function room is an attractive but expensive option at approximately $271,000 including 10% for contingency and 6% for the cost of architecture.
Another option is to build a new deck with an awning to replace the function hall at a cost of approximately $83,000.
Linda Lowell, President of the Chelmsford Country Club Ladies League, expressed concerns about how the loss of the function hall would impact the club.
She explained that the many golf tournaments held at the club need to conclude in the function hall for award ceremonies and post-tournament refreshments.
Lowell believed a new outdoor deck would not be a sufficient replacement considering that golfers already spend the entire event under the sun.
The Ladies League is the club’s most popular tenant.
“The last thing we want is to see leagues take their business to other clubs,” Lowell said.
The board had requested three demolition quotes ranging all the way up to $18,000, but decided on the cheapest option at $9,800.
The bar and kitchen, functional assets of the function room, will remain intact in spite of the demolition.
What should replace the old function hall? A new function hall? A deck and awning? Something else? Tell us in the comments!