SWANSEA – Monday will be a night of reckoning as officials attempt to take concrete steps on a major building project for a new Town Hall.

A large turnout is expected for the special Town Meeting on this single article Monday night at 7 p.m. at Joseph Case High School, 70 School St.

Borrowing for the estimated $9.5 million project is proposed in order to build a Town Hall that is slightly larger than the existing Town Hall and Town Hall Annex combined at 18,597 square feet. It would be situated on the latter building’s 6.4-acre site owned by the town on Stevens Road near the Bark Street intersection.

While a two-thirds vote will be needed for passage, the challenging aspect may have been reflected by a recent narrow vote to recommend approval by the Advisory & Finance Committee. It was 5-4 with one abstention.

The Town Hall building committee charged by selectmen to select a site where all town offices could be housed justified this site and project on a summary handout with renderings made available to residents.

“The existing Town Hall donated to the town by the Stevens family is past its useful life as a functioning Town Hall,” the brochure says, noting it is 128 years old, “grossly undersized and in need of repairs.”

It also says the proposed project designed by Compass Group Architecture “gives more efficient work space allowing for much-needed meeting space, which is non-existent at the town halls.”

The brochure noted the building committee looked at many sites over the past one to two years since it was formed, and a majority believed “that this site would accommodate the needs of the town for the foreseeable future.”

There would be a total of 106 parking spaces in front of the two-story building, five for handicapped parking, and room to expand it.

The Board of Selectmen would determine future uses of the two buildings on the site, the animal control shelter and the Town Hall Annex, both of which require considerable work and updating.

The town has proposed the current Town Hall of 10,066 square feet be renovated and incorporated into a library renovation/expansion project that was approved for nearly 50 percent grant funding and is listed as 19th on a state waiting list.

If approved by the two-thirds majority needed as a bonding article, a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion referendum would need to be held within 90 days.

A chart town officials prepared on the tax impacts, shows the average assessed home of $275,000 would increase just about $100 the first year of the 20-year bond, decreasing each year to $57.75 the last year.

The chart shows home values ranging from $200,000 to $600,000 and the first and last year of tax increase impacts. The full brochure is available on the town website and at Town Hall.

Other advantages and aspects of the project building officials noted included: the design includes a basement for efficient paper file storage and elevator access; the design is consistent with other historic public buildings with a reddish masonry façade and a cupola to allow natural light; there are expansion possibilities.

The building committee has acknowledged the site is outside the town center, and near the Somerset line, a criticism brought up by some people.

Email Michael Holtzman at mholtzman@heraldnews.com or call him at 508-676-2573.