Building Commission Votes to Put Walsh Project Out to Bid

Sally E. Bahner PhotoAfter more than two years of planning and meetings concerning design and educational specifications, bids will be advertised for the $88.2 million renovation to Walsh Intermediate School.

The Public Building Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to advertise for bids starting Jan. 12 for a 3 1/2 –week period ending Feb. 7.

The schedule will allow for prospective bidders to look at the job, and for responses to be gathered. An exterior and interior walk-through has been scheduled for Jan. 15 or Jan. 17 (as a back-up date).

Bids will be submitted to town hall, and then opened at fire headquarters.

Lynn Fusco, CEO and president of Fusco Corporation, construction manager for the project, said that the company has 14 projects coming up between now and the first week in April and stressed the importance of bidders understanding the project. She described it as “a wiser move.”

The commission also discussed adding a “Project Labor Agreement” (PLA), which is a prehire agreement that covers terms and conditions for people performing work on a specific public works projects. Fusco said it would ensure the most experienced bidders and allow flexibility in terms of specifying workers from the town, minorities, and women. Fusco stressed the importance of “getting the word out” and letting bidders know that PLA is in effect, adding that some projects use PLA and some don’t.

The Walsh Intermediate School was built in the 1970s using an open classroom concept. Many discussions were held over the years about how to remedy noise complaints and update the school to current standards. In December, the project received a $30 million state grant toward its cost. Approval was touch and go for a while, given the state’s budget stalemate and deficit. 

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