Room for Debate? New Study Outlines Workplace Options for the Vermont Statehouse Under Covid-19

September 9, 2020

As Vermont lawmakers look ahead to next year, they’re asking if they should they meet remotely, in-person or a combination of the two.

To help answer this question, the Vermont Legislature hired Freeman French Freeman to assess whether the current configuration of the Vermont Statehouse has the space needed to keep everybody safe and physically distant during the pandemic.

The report, prepared by President Jesse Beck, AIA, and Director of Interiors Jane Pickell, IIDA, concluded that there are not many options that allow 180 legislators to meet safely.

“When evaluating this, we started out with the Statehouse and started drawing our capacity circles into the various rooms,” said Beck. “And very quickly [we] understood, that there’s no way there could be a full return to the Statehouse.”

Instead, the report outlines a number of options for legislators, ranging from a full return to the Statehouse to relying on videoconferencing exclusively.  State officials have not yet made a decision, but the likely outcome is a hybrid approach that combines in-person gatherings at multiple sites with remote meetings online.

The full report can be accessed on the Seven Days website.  The story was also reported on Vermont Public Radio.

Freeman French Freeman has helped multiple organizations assess their space needs during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the State of Vermont and Northern Vermont University.


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