Faced with recent reports that estimated a town Public Works garage project as high as $8.5 million, town officials Wednesday night advocated a “design build” approach that could bring the costs back down between $6.5 and 7 million.
The garage is one of four projects a capital study group recommended be considered for a bonding package and be brought to voters in November.
Next week, the boards of Selectmen and Finance will take a look at the updated projects and potentially make some decisions.
Wednesday night, the Permanent Municipal Building Committee received more information on three of the projects, including the garage.
Jeff Alberti of Weston and Sampson presented the committee with some potential project savings but later in the meeting Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner said an alternative approach could save even more money.
It’s called design build and essentially involves one contractor who both designs and builds the project. Officials said it often saves money because a contractor builds to meet the town’s needs rather than exactly what an engineering firm has specified. It also saves money by allowing less-developed plans. Officials said the only potential drawback is that the town and building committee need to perhaps more closely review the project and choice of materials and systems along the way.
Skinner said he contacted Borghesi Building and Engineering out of Torrington, the company that built the garage in Barkhamsted.
The company estimated it could complete the project for $6.5 to 7 million, even with acquisition and site costs —one of the more challenging aspects of the current plan.
“What jumps out at everyone is you have $3 million in site work,” building committee chairman Peter Reynolds said at one point in the meeting.
He also added that the topography was less than ideal but re-iterated that the town is again pursuing 5 Cherry Brook Road only after eliminating so many other sites due to even more topography challenges, permitting issues, wetlands, size and other issues.
“We didn’t look at 60 sites and decide on this one because it’s the hilliest,” he said. “We’re talking more than half of our costs in acquiring the site and making it work.”
The building committee concurred that it would recommend the town pursue the garage project at a cost not to exceed $7 million
The committee discussed two other projects Wednesday. Roof work at all three schools and the community center is now estimated at $3.7 million. Earlier in the year the project was pegged at $2.2 million but officials determined a greater portion of the roof at Cherry Brook Primary School needs attention.
The committee also heard from Vincent C. McDermott, senior vice president, landscaping architecture and planning with Milone & MacBroom. He gave an overview of the proposed track and field at Canton High School. That project is now estimated between $3.1 and $3.35 million. The company also provided a study for reconfiguration of the lot at Canton High School but that portion would be funded under roads or “pavement management” program. Officials are asking the Board of Finance to consider funding $7 million in roadwork in the bonding package.
In all, the four projects, which were estimated at $18 million earlier this year, are now looking to come in between $20 and $22 million, Skinner said.
While the Board of Finance has requested additional information on the proposals, it has not yet made a decision on the bonding idea.
The finance board will meet Monday night after a joint meeting with the Board of Selectmen.