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Fire Station Bids Come in At Low Side of Expectations

Bids from general contractors for the proposed new Center Fire Station were opened Friday, Dec. 21 and several fell well within the number forecast by the architectural firm of Dore & Whittier for the project. Eleven bids were received and ranged from a low of $5.94M to a high of $7.73M.

The low bidder was TLT Construction Corporation of Wakefield at $5.94M; followed by PDS Engineering & Construction of Bloomfield CT at $6.06M, who, in turn, was followed by J&J Construction of Lowell at $6.25M. All subcontractor bids are included in the contractor's price.

Town Manager Mark Haddad and the architects estimated that the bids would come in at close to $5.9M to $6.1M. Obviously pleased with the results, Haddad commented, "Dore and Whittier did an excellent estimating job."

The 18,500 sq. ft. state-of-the-art building that will be located on Farmers Row has been designed to integrate into the neighboring area with the appearance of a barn-type structure with natural landscaping and minimal lighting,

According to Selectman Jack Petropoulos, "Members of the Committee were pleased with the bid outcomes, especially the fact that more than one bidder hit the projected budget number and that so many bids were close to the projection." Before his election to the Board of Selectmen, Petropoulos served as the Chairman of the Center Fire Station Building Committee.

The next step is for the town's Project Manager, contracted specifically for this project, to review the past performances and references of the four lowest bidders and to provide a report to the town by early January 2013.

The Center Fire Station Building Committee will meet Jan. 4 to review the Project Manager's evaluation and to make final recommendation to Selectmen on Jan. 7.  The resulting article will come before a Special Town Meeting scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26 at 9 a.m.

The article request for Annual Town Meeting is expected to be presented at an estimated total of $7.6M. In addition to the bid, this includes $300K for construction contingency. In addition there is another $1.4M in 'soft costs' that include payment for architects; $150K for a state required project manager; furniture including exercise equipment for the training room; and permitting and testing.

According to Haddad, the lower bids came into a range "that will enable the town to remain under the levy limit and will not require raising taxes to fund the project."

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