It was a major step forward, and by the time this report is read the big contract for remediating the library’s PCB contamination problem will probably have been signed. Work was to start in mid-August.
The three bidders for the revised project were interviewed separately by Facilities Director Julie Oakes and the Permanent Building Commission in Executive Sessions on May 30. Then, in open meeting, the Commission agreed to select AAIS, from West Haven, the most experienced of the three. The bid price was $1.498 million. This was the highest of the three bidders, but other important factors dominated the choice. AAIS proposed a ten-week work period beginning in August and predicted contract completion in November.
First Selectman Melissa Mack was briefed on the choice and approved moving ahead. Contract terms were worked out, and at this writing a signing was imminent.
AAIS favored grit blasting for removing the contaminated ceiling coatings and said that they could do the work in area stages, rather than in function stages. That way, limited areas could be cleared, blasted, recoated with epoxy, finished, and made available in sequence for other contractors to do their work. And there are a number of other jobs to be done, such as reinstalling the wall shelving, putting the auditorium back in business with new seating, and installing the new compact storage units in the historical room. The sequential approach would save overall time.
In previous months, problems had developed in the new heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment in the old building. (Not the other new HVAC equipment in the Zak entrance.) Reversing valves installed as part of the upgraded system to facilitate the seasonal changes between heating and cooling did not work as planned. It was decided that Main Enterprises, Inc., which had installed the new HVAC equipment, would test it at the end of May. The number of Main trucks that have been parked at the library during the first weeks of June suggests that substantial trouble was found. This writer was unable to learn more about this matter before deadline for the July-August issue.
And he is not bold enough to predict when the Kent Memorial Library will reopen, but there is certainly some light at the end of the tunnel.