Construction of the new Department of Public Works facility, to be built across from Bournedale Elementary School on Ernest Valeri Road, is expected to go out to bid next month. However estimates for the cost of constructing the new facility could go higher than the amount approved by voters at Town Meeting last year.
Voters approved a budget of roughly $11.1 million dollars for the new facility during Annual Town Meeting back in May 2013. Estimates presented at a meeting last week of the Bourne Public Works Building Committee showed an increase of more than $700,000 in the projected budget.
Bourne director of public works and facilities Jonathan R. Nelson said that the reason cost estimates have gone up is because costs within the construction industry have gone up 23 to 27 percent in just the past year.
“There was no way to predict that,” he said.
He also said that a number of big projects across the state have recently been completed, so he expects there will be a large number of contractors bidding on the DPW facility project. Mr. Nelson said that he knows of a library to be built in western Massachusetts on which 120 contractors are bidding.
“That’s a good number; competitive bidding drives the price down,” he said.
He said his hope is that the winning bid will come in close to the approved budget range. He mentioned that there are some things that have been added as alternatives in the design of the facility that could allow the project to stay in the target budget.
Efforts have already been made to cut down on expenses, Mr. Nelson said. He said that DPW and Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) employees are doing the grading of the land in preparation for construction. He said that a total of 80,000 cubic yards of soil needs to be removed from the site, and to date crews have taken out 14,000 to 15,000 cubic yards. Mr. Nelson said that he expects the grading to be completed by mid-March.
Some of the soil being removed from the site is being purchased by Dig It Construction of Yarmouth, the contractor for Keystone Place, the new senior housing complex to be built behind the post office on Main Street in Buzzards Bay. The soil is being hauled over to that site to be used as fill there, Mr. Nelson said.
Mr. Nelson said that there is additional work on the facility that DPW workers will do to further reduce the cost of construction. He specifically mentioned installing the building’s septic system, curbing, paving, a detention pond, and installation of outdoor light bases and fixtures.
The square footage of the building has also been cut back, making the building smaller in order to save money, he said.
“The original budget was so tight anyway because the building was a cheap, small building. Like the guys say, ‘It’s not the Taj Mahal,’ ” he said.
In addition, the design of the HVAC system for the building’s offices has been reduced in size, and walls have been cut down or taken out to create more storage space. He said that the floor plan has been maximized to give the department’s mechanics plenty of space for parts storage. Under the original plan, the building was going to house all of the department’s equipment, but with the reduction in size, that will no longer be the case, Mr. Nelson said. Most of the equipment will be housed indoors, but the facility will come up short on space so some equipment will have to be left outside. Mr. Nelson said that he even brought in a third party to examine the site and determine if there was anything else that could be done to maximize the space and cut down on expenses.
“They found a couple of things, but not much outside of actually reducing the size of the building more than we already have,” he said, adding that the design of the building has been made as efficient as possible.
Mr. Nelson said that if the project requires additional funding, he believes that any shortfall could be covered either through the capital budget or as a bonded expense in the operating budget. He said that his department would not go back to voters asking for another override. He mentioned that there are a couple of large-scale projects coming up for bid in the next couple of weeks, and that could
give him a general sense of the kind of bids he can expect on the DPW facility project.
“Is it possible that we might need additional funding? Maybe. It all depends on what the bids came back as. That’s really the driving force,” he said.
The plan at this point is to put the project out to bid on February 10 and give it a six- to eight-week window for contractors to submit their bids, he said. He said that he expects to sign a contract for the project sometime in May and have construction begin in late May or the first of June.