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An Update on Village Hall Construction Plans

March/April 2016

Submitted by the Building Committee


The Village went out for bids on renovating the Village Hall last fall in a traditional design-bid arrangement, but we were disappointed when we received only one non-compliant bid, which had a price tag that seemed too high and that could not be evaluated against other measures. To overcome this setback, the Board next retained the services of W. B. Olson, Inc. (Olson), a well-regarded firm with experience serving as a construction manager on municipal projects. As a construction manager, Olson is acting as the Village's agent to review plans, suggest cost-savings measures, solicit interest from qualified contractors, and manage the construction process.

After reviewing the bid drawings from last fall in detail, Olson made recommendations and suggestions. The most significant of these was to depart from our original plan of remodeling the existing structure and to instead build new.

Our expectation was that renovating the existing building would be less costly, as we would preserve much of the foundation and existing structure. After the failed bid and holding discussions with contractors who examined the plans but chose not to bid, we learned that several aspects of the project we had in mind were leading to unexpected inefficiencies.

Olson pointed out a number of factors that had not been evident during the initial planning process, particularly the usually high costs necessary to provide mechanical improvements to the existing structure in general, and especially to provide the HVAC, elevator, and additional fire-code-compliant stairways. When the cost savings from avoiding these expensive items was added to the savings from a reduction in total square footage possible if we went to a new, one-story design, the normal cost situation, i.e., that remodeling would be less expensive than new construction, was seen to not be true in our situation. As a result, the building committee reporting to the Board concluded that designs for new construction 9 should be pursued.

The village engineer and ecologist were instructed to view the entire site at 300/320 Portwine and determine the optimum size and location of a building envelope. As it turns out, the existing building is located within the best envelope on the site for avoiding wetlands and preserving desirable trees. Our architects had already spent numerous hours with staff and the building committee exploring the long-term programmatic requirements of the Village. These requirements were translated into a new design, one-story building, occupying approximately the same footprint as the current building, with a palette of exterior materials and appearance almost the same as the proposed renovation.

In other words, we think we will be getting a new building (with the advantages in longevity, efficiency and reduced operating costs that come with a new structure), while adhering closely to the Village's aesthetic and desire to preserve natural surroundings. Overall, the result is a proposed building that is approximately a third smaller than the design that went to bid last fall, with more cost effective materials, yet still meeting the Village's needs.

Olson has not finalized the budget for this project al- though we have been given a rough idea that building construction should run about $300 per square foot (not counting exterior site work, landscaping, fixtures and furnishings, and design fees).

There are a number of choices that influence the final budget, many of which can be listed as alternates in the next round of bidding. As the Board weighs the various choices, we are mindful of spending public funds in a wise manner – to avoid excessive costs but not to choose lesser quality that in the long run will not serve us well. We are making decisions for a building with a projected useful life of at least 50 years.

On the previous page is the current elevation and first floor proposed design that is what we expect to take out to bid.

Our current time line is to go out for bids in April, with an eye toward breaking ground in May and completing construction (but not landscaping) by February 2017.


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