The project to renovate the present Town Hall is moving forward, and the Request for Qualifications and Proposal was published on February 22. Actually there were two closely related RFP’s issued, one for the architectural and engineering design work (A/E) and one for a “Construction Manager at Risk” (CMR). The two were, for the most part, identical, but they differed in certain key areas, and the two sets of responses, required by March 21, were to be evaluated separately. (The Observer’s printing schedule did not permit reporting on those responses.)
At the March 7 meeting of the Permanent Building Commission, Facilities Director Chris Matejek reported that seven architects and three construction managers had shown interest and had participated in the mandatory walk-through at the building on February 28.
The A/E proposal request calls for complete design services, including schematic design, design development, and the necessary construction drawings, along with construction advice and “close-out,” all in close cooperation with the selected CMR. The CMR is expected to work closely with the selected A/E contractor throughout the preconstruction phase and then be responsible for the actual renovation work as defined in the specifications, all at a guaranteed maximum price.
Both RFP’s include the statement that the Town has appropriated a total budget of $5.1 M for the work, and the expectation is that the proposed costs won’t exceed that. (In fact, there has been no appropriation yet for the Town Hall project; the October 8, 2015 vote having only approved a $5.13 M bond issue.)
Both RFP’s provide conceptual drawings worked out by the Permanent Building Commission in cooperation with the Selectmen’s Office and others, based on space needs surveys of the various departments and the recognition of what are considered efficient office practices using modern information technology (IT). There are some changes to the interior room layout of the building, one big change being the new hearing room occupying the entire west side of the first floor, which presently houses the Town Clerk’s office and the Clerk’s record vault. The Clerk’s office will be moved to the lower level, with a new, larger, vault extending beyond the south wall of the present meeting room. Otherwise, the building’s footprint would not change. Several Town departments will remain in other quarters.
The renovations call for changes related to current ADA and building code requirements, including fire control sprinklers. There is to be an entirely new HVAC system and new power and IT wiring. Most of the current windows will be unchanged, as they were updated not many years ago. Necessary hazardous material remediation is included, including asbestos, but there is no specific mention of PCB.
In practice, it often turns out that unexpected circumstances develop, but the CMR would hope that he has allowed enough contingency in his estimates. New requirements added by the Town might change the final price. In the present Town climate, that would likely be minimized.