Beach House Project

Beach House Project Information


The property now known as Shelburne Beach was donated to the Town of Shelburne in the fall of 1954 by Dunbar and Electra Bostwick.  The concrete block Bath House was built by volunteers in 1956.  Minimal maintenance and few upgrades have been made to the building since it was built. The building is well past it’s prime in both aesthetics and functionality.

In 2016 the Recreation Committee and Parks and Recreation Department started to take a serious look at the issues and improvements needed for the structure.  The Town had it assessed by Vermont Integrated Architecture, and they provided a recommendation of necessary deferred maintenance, suggested improvements, and options for moving forward. Early estimates provided by Vermont Integrated Architecture indicated it would be less expensive to build a new structure rather than try to improve the current one. After review by the Recreation Committee and Town, it was decided we would pursue building a new structure, and moved forward with getting a design. Due to State of Vermont laws for structures within 100 feet of Lake Champlain, the project would have to be rebuilt on the existing footprint.  The project also includes the septic holding tank to be replaced as well. 

Designing a new Beach House

A design was created by Jeff McBride of Birdseye Design.  Jeff is a Shelburne resident who visits the beach frequently with his family and has a vested interest in seeing an improved facility for the community. Jeff worked closely with the Recreation Committee to meet the needs and requirements of the types of use for the structure, and also researched the land use history to envision an updated structure that will still visually blend with the farming landscape and rural setting. The design presentation to the Selectboard is available for viewing under the Related Documents link on the right side of this page.  

The new design makes efficient use of wasted space by creating four individual bathroom / changing rooms to replace the separate Mens’ and Women’s Bathrooms.  The number of toilets would increase from 2 to 4, and 2 of the 4 bathrooms would be ADA accessible.  In addition, three semi-enclosed showers would be added on the south end of the beach house.  The storage and day use room proposed for Beach Staff would be similar in size and functionality as it is in the current building.   By utilizing the entire footprint space more efficiently, an added “porch” would provide sitting space with shelter that would be useful for a variety of activities held at the Beach. One interesting feature of the proposed design is the sliding “barn” doors at the entrance to the bathroom area and on each side of the sitting area allowing it to be more protective of weather or open when needed. 

Funding a New Beach House

Initial estimates in 2017 for the Beach House project, including replacement of the septic holding tank, were approximately $350,000, though that will likely change given current market conditions.  The project was supported by the Town Selectboard and has been included in the capital plan since 2017.  However, funding of large projects in a small town is not easy, and other community needs have taken precedence in recent years. The Selectboard has also been clear that fundraising would be needed to support the project, and the Town would not be able to fund it completely in the General Fund.  A few initial fund raisers were conducted to try to raise money to be used for design and engineering costs.  A Go Fund Me page was unsuccessful at the time, and a coin drop provided a “drop in the bucket” for a start.  

We had some setbacks during the COVID pandemic, but this past year we have continued fundraising efforts and have brought in a total of $27,773 to date, mostly through individual donations. In addition, we have $20,000 that the Town committed in a previous fiscal year that was rolled over into the Beach Fund to help with design, engineering, and permitting.

A recent updated cost review indicated that the actual cost of constructing the Beach House could still be done for $350,000, not including the soft costs such as engineering, design and permitting. However, those costs can be covered by the money previously fundraising and committed by the Town. On March 1 Town Meeting Vote: Article 10 is to consider whether “voters authorize financing for the construction of a replacement Beach House at Shelburne Beach in an amount not to exceed $350,000.”

If you have questions about this project, please contact Shelburne Parks and Recreation Department. 802-985-9551.

As a committee, we welcome feedback from Shelburne residents to improve the overall beach appearance and functionality in keeping with the conditions and policies as established by the deed set forth when the land was given to the Town.  Have a safe and fun summer! 

The Shelburne Recreation Committee

Peggy Coutu, Chair
Members:  Ann Clark, Renée Davitt, Kelli Magnier, Susan McLellan, Kathie Pudvar, Marv Thomas, Bruce Whitbeck


Current Shelburne Beach House

Beach House Design Rendering

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