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Officials Tout ‘Design Build’ Idea to Lower Cost of Town Highway Garage Project

Potential bonding projects to be further discussed next week.

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. 

Canton Taxpayer August 16, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Why am I not surprised the track & field estimates went up a million dollars....I hope the Boards of Selectmen and Finance realize that Canton has to draw the line somewhere on this wish-list....an additional $4 million bond/DEBT seems preposterous to me. I can only hope the less-affluent/fiscally prudent people of Canton vote the whole bonding package down. Roads repaired? Absolutely. Roofs over our heads? Absolutely. $7 million town garage - eh - we need one but even that 'lower estimate' seems extreme, but $3.3 million on a track and field is just irresponsible.
David Sinish August 16, 2012 at 08:37 PM
As I understand it all the projects are planned to be voted on as a bundle at the referendum on November 6. If they were to be voted on seperately, then each project would stand on its own merit...and we could choose as the Canton Taxpayer (see preceeding comment) has reasoned.
Mike August 16, 2012 at 10:02 PM
As the advertisement on television by Verison says - Lets Not Bundle!
Andrew Ziemba August 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM
The excuse is that they can borrow it at such a low rate of interest. By that logic, why don't we build a theme park and a baseball stadium too? Once the dollar collapses the same people who are calling for all of the taxing and spending will wake up homeless. Their wealth will disappear overnight, like dust in the wind. Unfortunately for many of them, they don't really understand the reality of the problem we face. Either that, or they are so greedy and assume that they can fool the masses easily enough to have their agenda fulfilled. Imagine if we lived in a world where you could pay for only what you wanted. Imagine if we did not have to coerce weak minded people to give up their rights and their wallets "for the good of everyone". Imagine if people actually spoke up for themselves, and demanded that their vote be counted. No, we live in a docile country of gibbering weaklings who will always serve the will of their masters like obedient fools.
Andrew Ziemba August 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Yes, the Federal and state governments do this too. Bundle enough junk together so that that way everyone gets what they want. This way everyone wins, or everyone loses. Nobody wants to lose, so everyone supports it. The rich don't care because it's all a drop in the bucket. The poor don't care because they don't pay any tax anyway. The middle class, well, they just get forced out. As you can see, we are becoming a town now where the rich live up on a hill and the poor live down below. There is no middle class in this story. The future motto of this town is "a great place to rent, but a horrible place to buy, unless you make over $150,000 per year!" Anyone who dares to speak up against more spending is labeled a grouchy old man who has no heart. Well you know what? It is those with the fiscal responsibility and foresight who can see very clearly when someone is biting off more than they can chew.
Betty August 16, 2012 at 11:59 PM
I would like to urge the BOS and BOF to present these projects as individual issues on November 6th. Are there any down sides to not moving forward with any of these projects? Will we need to pay more to replace roads that are not repaired? The 1989 Town of Canton POCD identified the need to move and replace the town garage away from Farmington River and the flood plain, twenty-three years later we are still trying to get the job done. Does FEMA fine us for not complying? What measures will be taken to protect abutters of these projects? Are there any additional costs involved in buffering abutters? While we are discussing needs lets talk about the pool now. Any other projects on our horizon should be addressed now not after November 6th.
N. Jon I. Twist August 17, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I didn't see exactly what the town garage in Barkhamsted.cost. It's just up the road a few miles. We have a Town employee that lives in Barkhamsted, does Canton need a garage as large as Barkhamsted built. I understand that there is a move to have the Canton pool replaced.

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