BOF Approves COVID Appropriation, Hears Pension & Bonding Subcommittee Report
December 23, 2020
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Heated Words on Sherman School Construction; COVID Numbers Remain High at BOS Meeting
January 8, 2021

At a special meeting on 12/15, the Permanent Building Committee (PBC) voted to approve moving the new high school to the Construction Documents (CD) phase. With PBC input after their 12/8 meeting, the administration has changed course on key elements of the project. Collier’s International representative Mr. Scott Pellman said “The entire team took to heart comments from the PBC” and ultimately removed the pool locker room renovations from the Alternate List, instead agreeing that it will need to be included in the base project. Also, the proposed $1.625M Board of Education office space that was added after the first round of cuts has been removed from the project, with the exception of possible designs for a future addition.

Pellman explained that with the project shifts, the financials stand at 2.16% over budget with a 5% contingency for construction costs, plus a soft cost contingency on top of that. The contingency is in place to cover items that aren’t fully vetted on the drawings yet, though Pellman explained that the 5% contingency disappears during the CD phase. Given the decision to continue with a Cost+ contract with O&G, the contingency is 3 to 3½% less than it would have been. JCJ Architecture’s Mr. Peter Bachmann said regarding the contingency “I would say that we are comfortable with that with the proviso that we will be looking at fit and finish throughout the building.” Director of Finance and Operations Dr. Richard Sanzo concurred, saying “I do think there’s an opportunity to realize some additional savings,” Sanzo said, in terms of fit and finish choices.

PBC member Mr. Mike Del Monaco asked about updating designs now to further keep the budget in line, alleviating the need to possibly redesign later. Regarding the unknowns in bidding, “If we are over at that point then there is going to need to be redesign and it’s going to have to be quick,” Del Monaco said. Bachmann said that they are confident that they can move forward without needing to redesign now, given certain levers they can pull to help contain cost. Everyone agreed that there is a need to continue to find ways to save money. Mr. Paul Boniello pointed out that “I think Mike and some other PBC members…we continue to brainstorm on some of the ideas that we have” including the HVAC and other mechanical designs. Bachmann replied to say, “we welcome ideas and we ourselves are not putting the brakes on value engineering and value management.”

There was some discussion of moving $547K that was previously moved to the contingency during the purchase of 78 Gillotti Road back into the budget. Sanzo explained that he would consider asking the committee to reinstate it in the future if it would help to enhance the programmatic spaces. On that matter, there was pushback from the PBC. Mr. Don Kellogg pointed out, of the $547K, that he thinks “it’s going to be dangerous to start talking about reinstating that because that was one of the selling points of purchasing 78 Gillotti.” He went on to reiterate that “it took a little convincing for the town” and he “would be very hesitant to dump that back into the project.”

At the school’s request, Pellman reorganized the Alternate List to clarify what items are in, are cut or modified in a true Value Engineering (VE) List, and are tagged as alternates. Currently alternates that are prioritized for inclusion are a reinforced turf overflow parking lot–rather than just grass–a bleacher stair in the cafeteria; class speech reinforcement; enhanced stage lighting and rigging for the auditorium; and an orchestra shell for the auditorium’s stage. “Some alternates are also going to require further work as we move into CD,” Sanzo said. He went on to explain that auditorium decisions will be made in conjunction with JCJ Architecture’s consultants and high school faculty. The VE list includes managing fill and re-grading the playing fields, switching the Middle School to a retaining wall rather than underpinning after demolition, and more.

The PBC approved spending to test wells at Consolidated and NFHS at $2,130 each. Neither well is currently used, but the NFHS well was recently tested and deemed clean for potable water. The water yield tests, which consist of pumping the wells for 3 hours, measuring the drawdown amounts, and calculating the results, were requested by the Department of Public Health. Director of Buildings and Grounds, Mr. Phil Ross explained that the wells that service MHHS are complicated, as they travel up from Consolidated. In addition, the wells have lateral tie-ins to the church and rectory–a decision that was made several decades ago.

 The next regular Permanent Building Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 7:30pm.

By Sarah Opdahl