A firm hired to assess the town’s plans for a new highway
garage concurs that the town should focus its efforts on 325 Commerce Drive,
Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner told selectmen this week.
The firm review that site along with 55 Lawton Road and 51 River Road.
A May 2013 electors voted 814-454 against spending up to
$5.4 million on a new public works facility at the Commerce Drive site. The project was controversial and in addition to cost some
of the debate focused on how much location factored into the result.
After the referendum, selectmen initially selectmen
considered separately purchasing the Commerce Drive site for $225,000 and then
moving forward with a project.
However, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner later suggested having another firm come in and review the work of past consultant Weston and Sampson in hopes of finding some savings and gaining voter confidence.
That firm, Silver/Petrucelli + Associates, reviewed the Commerce Drive site, along with 55 Lawton Road and 51 River Road.
Using a matrix and several criteria, the firm placed Commerce Drive on top and recommended the town continue to focus on it, Skinner told selectmen Wednesday.The Permanent Municipal Building Committee has concurred, Skinner said.
Silver/Petrucelli will now review costs, various designs and other factors to get some cost estimates and develop a request for proposal for a “design build” project, Skinner said. Design build uses one firm to both design and build saving some money and allowing the contractor some flexibility, rather than following someone else's design.
During the referendum process, many officials said the
project could come in lower than $5.4 million. By having the work reviewed and getting bids ahead of time,
the town now hopes to get a more accurate price ahead of time, find some areas of savings and come back to
voters with a less expensive project.