After several years of debate and analysis, Town Meeting approved $7.8 million for a new fire station to be located adjacent to Town Hall this spring. However, that figure may not be enough on its own.
Permanent Building Committee co-chairman Pat Maloney came before the Board of Selectmen to announce that unexpected cost estimations brought the current cost projection of the project approximately $500,000 above that figure.
With parking for Town Hall along Billerica Road closed off recently, Maloney told the board that going back to the drawing board would incur potential additional costs in design fees as well as additional construction delays due to winter, although he indicated he and other members of the Permanent Building Committee did not forsee the economy rebounding as quickly as it did over the past year.
“These things tend to be fluid, as things move through we do have an excellent record of getting this things on budget,” said Maloney. “We’re victims of the circumstances of the day, but we believe it’s not in the best interests of the town to back up.”
Ultimately, Maloney told the board that bids for the elevator and steel for the project doubled from other recent projects in town, with the winning bidder on electrical work for the project withdrawing his bid citing what was indicated to Maloney as a mathematical error.
The elevator also received one bid. Until recently, the bid could have been withdrawn and send back out to bid until multiple bids were received, but Maloney indicated this was no longer the case due to new legislation passed by the state legislature.
However, Maloney also indicated that the cost of the project could be reduced in ways such as looking for different materials of certain elements of the project and adjusting retaining walls near the foundation of the building.
Selectman Janet Askenburg also questioned Maloney on the small contingency buffer for unforeseen problems on the project. While Maloney told her that the contingency was smaller compared to similar projects, he was confident in the plans for the building outside of portions of the building near the ground.
Ultimately, the board approved a bid from B.W. Construction Co. of Spencer, MA. for $6,278,386; with additional funding to be procured later if needed.
The project is scheduled to be completed by September of 2014.
CORRECTION: The projection was approximately $500,000 over, not $50,000 over.
NOTE: There is also a warrant article at Fall Town Meeting to appropriate an unspecified amount of money for the project.