Town Hall Update

Help Preserve Tewksbury for our Past, Present, and Future. Vote YES on enacting the Community Preservation Act.

Town Hall Update

Postby swamper on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:09 pm

From TewksburyPatch: ... on-efforts

Town Hall Project Waits on Project Manager, Organizing Relocation Efforts

Initial plans for early spring groundbreaking may be pushed back.
By Brandon Schillemat | Email the author | January 19, 2011

The Town Hall renovation project was initially slated to break ground in early spring. That timeframe may be pushed back, said Nancy Reed, the chairperson of the Community Preservation Committee.

“If nothing else, it’s about the paperwork involved with…the request,” she said. “Between legal, and that type of thing, it may be stalled.”

The $6.1 million, approved by voters at the fall Special Town Meeting, is geared toward fixing mechanical, structural, and cosmetic issues with the building, as well as creating more functional space and bringing the building up to code,

One hold-ups with the project is the selection of a project manager, an appointee chosen by Town Manager Richard Montuori.

Another delay could be the problems associated with a loss of office and meeting space. All town employees working within the town hall must be relocated as soon as construction starts, a process Reed described as “complicated.”

As of now the offices of the town manager, clerk, and board of selectmen are just a few of the boards and departments that will be looking for new residence when ground breaks.

A further contingency is the coordination of the removal and refurbishing of all town records. This is a separate project that cannot feasibly be started until the building restoration begins.

“The restoration of the town hall records and the town hall renovation will run concurrently,” said Reed. “They’re going to coordinate the removal (with) the company that does that work at the same time they decide to empty the building out.”

Reed mentioned that this careful timing will give the documents a home during the process of demolition and reconstruction.

“So that way, it’s almost killing two birds with one stone," she said. "It’s a place for the records to be while they’re being restored.”

Currently, records are stored in bins and cabinets that are prone to damage, especially in the rain-threatened storage area behind the town hall’s auditorium.

The company hired for the job, according to Reed, will ensure that the records are returned after the building’s storage areas have been upgraded.

“They don’t want to do it and then bring them back into the same town hall that we had, because there’s some dripping issues, mold, etcetera,” she said.

The careful handling and restoration of the sensitive documents isn’t cheap by any standards: approximately $375,000 has been set aside for this project alone.

As for the progress on the town hall project as a whole?

Reed guessed that the project construction would start as soon as the project manager was chosen, the office-space problems were solved, and the final paperwork and logistics completed.

“The design plans are …90 percent done,” said Reed. “I think it’s a matter of putting all of the pieces together.”
User avatar
Posts: 6018
Joined: Sat May 06, 2000 1:01 am
Location: Tewksbury

Re: Town Hall Update

Postby swamper on Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:58 pm

From today's Lowell Sun:

Repairs to Tewksbury Town Hall months from now
By Joyce Tsai,
Posted: 09/05/2011 06:35:35 AM EDT

TEWKSBURY -- If you've ever attended a public meeting at Town Hall during the height of summer, it's not hard to imagine why town officials had hoped that this summer the $6.1 million renovation of Town Hall and Town Common would begin.

Unequipped with many modern conveniences, the auditorium has no air conditioning. Electrical fans perform double duty in the sweltering heat, nearly drowning out the ability to hear in a room that already has an inadequate sound system. It's also battling leaks, mold and numerous other problems due to old age.

Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the project, which passed overwhelmingly, 55-14, at October's Town Meeting, getting it jump-started has been a bit slower than expected. "And it'll likely be another six months or a year before construction can start," said Town Manager Richard Montuori.

Yet, some progress has been made. The town announced this month it will be hiring Boston-based CBI Consultants as its project manager. The town will pay CBI $298,000 to review and oversee the project's design and construction.

Not only will the project result in a new heating and air-conditioning system, it will provide an updated sewer connection and bring the building up to fire code and compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. It will also build additions to each side of the building totaling 2,500 square feet, which include an elevator shaft, improved utilities in the basement and additional meeting rooms
and offices.

The process has taken a while as the town juggles other projects. As it finalizes the legal language of the contract, and once that is signed and in place, CBI plans to start in September and review the proposed design plans over the next couple of months. In the best-case scenario, construction could go out to bid six months from today, Montuori said.

"If we get lucky, hopefully it will start soon," he said.

Construction is estimated at 18 months to two years, he said.

The renovation should build new vault spaces to move town records into. The building's vaults have a bit of a mold issue, and a couple leak when it rains, Montuori said.

At the same time, Town Clerk Denise Graffeo is putting together a request for proposal, expected to go out in a couple weeks, for the restoration of historical records of the town, approved in Town Meetings in 2009 and 2010, totaling $425,000.

The restoration of these records, some of which date back to the birth of the town in the 1700s, will be coordinated with the Town Hall renovation, because everything will have to be moved out of town offices in the building and stored.

"We want to make sure they are cared for and preserved in a way that they will be electronically accessible and stored forever," Graffeo said.

The Town Hall renovation and the record-preservation projects will be funded through the efforts of the Community Preservation Committee, headed by Nancy Reed. The committee brought forth the proposals to Town Meeting for voter approval, so that Community Preservation Act funds, which the town collects through a 1.5 percent surcharge on the assessed value of property over $100,000 every year, could pay for the projects.

The Town Hall will have to move down to the Senior Center for two years during construction, Montuori said. About nine to 10 employees working in the offices of Town Manager, Veteran Agent and Town Clerk will be relocated to an area in the Senior Center, which Director of the Council on Aging Linda Brabant has designated for Town Hall employees to set up shop. The town also will have to find a place to store files as the project gets closer to construction, Montuori said.

"It's a great temporary fix and it shouldn't be a problem," Montuori said.

Once renovated, the Town Hall will probably house about 25 employees, including the community-development office, which has about 10 employees and is on Whipple Road.

"It'll be an inconvenience, but it'll be a minor inconvenience to get this building done," Montuori said.

"And from the resident and town employee standpoint, it's going to make things easier," because more town services will be provided in one building, said Director of Community Development Steve Sadwick.

"It'll save from running back and forth to buildings, and it'll just make for more efficient operations."
User avatar
Posts: 6018
Joined: Sat May 06, 2000 1:01 am
Location: Tewksbury

Re: Town Hall Update

Postby Little Willie on Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:29 pm

I looked at the RFQ put out for that job to see how the town wrote it up. It had a $90,000 cap on it for this oversight. How did this escalate into a $298,000 bill to the town? This is absolutely ridiculous Doug Sears can you shed light on this? I may be able to fwd you the RFQ if you have not seen it please let me know
Little Willie
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 5:12 pm

Re: Town Hall Update

Postby dougsears on Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:30 pm

Little Willie:

We started at 95k, but all interested firms indicated 95k was not enough.
I think the 95k included neither a clerk of the works nor the tasks in the project manager scope for a project of this size.

Posts: 2120
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2001 2:01 am

Re: Town Hall Update

Postby Little Willie on Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:39 pm

Doug who wrote up the scope of work for the project and where did the $95k figure come from?
Little Willie
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 5:12 pm

Re: Town Hall Update

Postby swamper on Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:29 pm

From today's Lowell Sun: ... l-evolving

Plans for Tewksbury Town Hall evolving
By Joyce Tsai,
Updated: 07/25/2012 09:04:28 AM EDT

It's still unclear when Tewksbury will begin renovations at Town Hall.

TEWKSBURY -- More than a year and a half after residents voted to spend $6.1 million to give Town Hall its first major overhaul in more than 90 years, the long-anticipated project has been stuck on pause.

It's not clear exactly when the town will be able to begin the renovation, said Town Manager Richard Montuori. But the good news is that the town has selected a new project architect, Kang Associates in Boston, and the town's contract with the firm is awaiting Montuori's final tweaks and official approval, he said. A dollar value for the contract is still being negotiated.

Once signed, the architects will likely take four to seven months to pin down the project's final design, before it goes out to bid to general contractors. Thus, the project's completion date is expected to be more than two years out, he said.

But before signing the contract, "we need to sit down with the architect and talk about what we want to do with the building to fit our programmatic needs," Montuori said. For instance, "do we want more meeting space and things like that?"

The architects will be asked to evaluate and replace work done by the project's past architect, Jeffrey J. Cook, who worked off and on the design for more than four years, as he factored in the changing ideas and recommendations of previous town officials, said Selectman Chairman David Gay, a member of the Town Hall Renovation Committee.

It's a project that dates far back. Town officials began
discussing Town Hall renovation in 1985. They formed the Town Hall Renovation Committee in 1999 and brought a plan on how to renovate the Town Hall in 2001, but those plans were set aside due to financial constraints. Finally, in 2006, town officials formed the Community Preservation Committee, which oversees and funds projects, such as the Town Hall renovation, via the town's Community Preservation Act coffers.

Cook stopped work on the project about a year and a half ago, when the designs were about 75 percent complete, Gay said. Cook, who had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, however, made headlines in November when he was charged with killing his 58-year-old sister, Sandra Griffin. Even before that, the town manager decided to hire a new architect for the project, because officials had some doubts about the accuracy of Cook's drawings.

Said Montuori, "I'd be surprised," if the town used Cook's plans. "We're going to start from scratch."

This project has been on the drawing board for about five to 10 years, he said. That's why he is asking for new ideas for the project.

He would like the architects to develop more meeting space than what is in the current plans. Rather than extending the balcony and auditorium of the main hall, so there's still one big meeting space, town officials seek to split that into at least a couple of different meeting rooms.

"We need more meeting space to function better," Montuori said, noting that the town's numerous committees don't have enough options for places to meet on the same night.

"If there's another committee, it could be meeting at the same time, in Town Hall," rather than having to spread out meetings through the week and the town, he said.

In addition, Montuori will be asking architects to look at whether originally planned additions to the building, totaling 2,500 square feet -- one wing on one side for an elevator shaft and the other side for extra office spaces -- are really necessary.

Possibly "we can rearrange some of the existing spaces," rather than add extra offices through an additional wing, he said.

Existing office space should be enough to accommodate the planned move of the Office of Community Development, which includes the planning, building, conservation and health departments, from its current location on Whipple Road to the renovated building, he said. Also, rooms that are being used for storage now could possibly be freed up to add extra office space.

The original plan also would have added new windows, a new HVAC system and a new sewer connection, improved utilities in the basement, and also bring the building, built in 1917, up to fire code and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Gay agreed that it made sense for the town to redo the design from scratch.

"We're going to scale it down a bit," Gay said since the current plans are "more elaborate and a bit aggressive than we need."

It could be "more cost-efficient," Gay said.

It's possible that the new downsized plans will make it a less expensive project for taxpayers, but that still remains to be seen, Gay said.

Like many residents, Gay said he would like to see the project completed sooner. But it's more important to have the project done right, he said.
User avatar
Posts: 6018
Joined: Sat May 06, 2000 1:01 am
Location: Tewksbury

Re: Town Hall Update

Postby moretpani on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:05 pm

Pi$$ing away more $$$ that we do not have.

Posts: 2038
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2000 1:01 am

Re: Town Hall Update

Postby roxymom on Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:21 pm

How much money has the town already paid, for plans from Cook, that are now not going to be used? (Downsizing of plans)
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 1:01 am

Return to Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee