Bridge Street Community Center Receives $500,000 State Grant

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An application to the State by Suffield’s Economic Development office has resulted in an award of up to $500,000 for funding under the Main Street Investment Fund. This grant is designed to “improve town commercial centers, to attract small businesses, promote commercial viability, and improve aesthetics and pedestrian access.” This money is designated for work on the outside of the building, which includes drainage work and landscaping.

Previously a Town Tri-Board meeting, held on Monday, September 26, covered a variety of topics one of which was the renovation of the Bridge Street School into a community center. While the construction estimate requested by the Permanent Building Committee (PBC) for renovation of the building came in higher than the $8.4 million bonding that had been approved by the town over a year ago, it was deemed reasonable that the scope of the plan for renovation could be modified so that the work on the building could still be accomplished and stay within the boundaries of the $8.4 million bond the Town had voted on.

The PBC explained a few points about this new estimate: one, the estimate is based on a conceptual design which will continue to be fine-tuned into a more detailed design and subsequently construction documents where the costs will be refined; two, they believe the current design can be value engineered during the detailed design phase to find efficiencies and cost savings; and three, some of the difference in cost is attributed to the plan to use a construction manager at risk model (which is different than how past projects were executed), which means the contractor will guarantee the project is completed within budget.

At a PBC meeting on October 6, the committee agreed to put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for both an architect and a construction manager for the Bridge Street Community Center project (BSCC) to start the work involved in creating a workable plan for the building. Work on abatement will be the first order of business and that should be in process in the next month or two.

The BSCC group has begun the work to become a 501(c)3 so that money may be raised for any extras deemed desirable for the new community center.

It is very exciting that our new community center project is finally on its way.

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