• New plans reduce estimates for Waterbury municipal complex
    By
     | February 25,2013
     

    WATERBURY — Architects and town officials have reduced the projected costs of a new municipal complex, added another design option, and expressed some disagreement over whether certain rooms should be situated on lower levels where flooding could occur.

    Cost estimates for multiple proposals, all for a site at the Waterbury state office complex, were reduced by around $1 million. Option D, which calls for a newly constructed, simple rectangular building, dropped to $5.5 million, from $7.56 million. And a new alternative, Option F, could cost even less at $4.7 million.

    The estimates do not include so-called soft costs, which include expenses for permits and the acquisition of the property itself from the state.

    Select Board member Rebecca Ellis said the figures are ballpark estimates, but they mean Waterbury could have to bond for up to $5 million, an amount that officials are trying to reduce further.

    “We really still are looking for public input,” Ellis said Sunday, adding that officials continue to seek input on questions like what types of functions people would like to see at the new facility.

    The projected cost savings come from reducing program space and lowered demolition costs. Village trustee Lawrence “Lefty” Sayah said the programs are at their bare bones now.

    As part of the changes, the police space will no longer be larger than absolutely necessary, said Jim Drummond, of Black River Design Architects, on Friday. In a meeting of town, village and library officials earlier this month, the previous plan had called for creating enough room for a potential townwide police department in the future. Drummond said Friday, however, that the space can be expanded later if needed.

    The new design alternative, Option F, calls for renovating the existing town library at a cost of $647,590 and $3.89 million in new construction, which would include two elevators. The proposal would not require any demolition of Stanley or Wasson halls for the new structure at the state complex.

    At a Friday work meeting with architects, Select Board member Chris Viens suggested that a proposal to incorporate new office space or conference rooms on the lower levels could save more money. But the chairman of the board, John Grenier, said he was uncomfortable with the notion of even conference space being situated in flood-prone areas. Board member Chris Nordle agreed, saying he didn’t think placing occupied space below the 100-year flood plain was a viable option.

    Waterbury’s recent bond voting history shows, to some extent, voters’ willingness to support construction projects.

    In November 2008, some 3,000 voters narrowly approved a $5.8 million bond for replacing two fire stations.

    A rescission vote, however, came in January 2009, overwhelmingly overturning the project.

    A revised $3.2 million bond for the fire stations was then approved in 2010 on Town Meeting Day.

    david.taube @timesargus.com

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