HANCOCK — The Hancock Historical Society has experienced a bump in the road on the way to a new building. But that may not be a bad thing.
In its June newsletter, the historical society announced it was ready to move forward with plans to construct a new facility, which would be attached to a structure on Route 1 that is owned by the Hancock Women’s Club.
However, at a special meeting last week, the board voted unanimously to explore another option.
“We’ve been presented with an opportunity that is too good to pass up,” said Don Parker, society treasurer, addressing the board.
Board member Bob Foss said there’s a “strong possibility” that an approximately one-acre parcel will be donated to the society, allowing it to construct a freestanding building of its own. But, he added, “It’s not a done deal by any means.”
Over a period of 10 days from the Aug. 9 meeting, the board will explore the issue with the potential donor.
“It’s a fantastic arrangement if we can make this work,” Foss said.
Informal plans for a new building have been in the works for about two years, said Sanford Phippen, historical society president.
The society’s artifacts are currently housed on the second floor of the Hancock town office at 18 Point Road. Regardless of where a new building is constructed, the society’s new home will be all on one floor, and handicapped-accessible. It will also have climate control, which the current location does not have, Phippen said.
“It’s going to be a good thing for everybody,” said Charlene Clemons, who serves as the curator for the group.
Society officials estimate the new building will cost about $300,000 and they’ve raised about a third of that, Phippen said.
Parker said he doesn’t believe a change in plans will result in significantly higher construction costs. A stand-alone building will need to be larger to accommodate space for rest rooms, plus the society will have to build a septic system.
However, those costs will be offset by savings realized from not having to tie into an existing building.
“When you tie into another building, there’s a lot of complications,” Parker said.
Phippen said he is looking forward to getting started.
“It’s very exciting,” he said.