The Public Building Commission this week grappled with the possibility of a later completion of the Community House/Senior Center due to a delay in the fabrication and delivery of structural steel. It’s a delay that shines a light on the logistics of the town handling two major construction projects at one time.
One project centers on the $12.1 million Community Center and the other on the $88.2 million renovation of the Walsh Intermediate School. The topic was raised at the most recent Building Commission meeting held at Fire Headquarters.
Recreation director Alex Palluzzi Jr. said at the meeting, “We’ll be running into each other… there’s no other space.” He was referring to the carefully choreographed schedule involving the construction schedule at Walsh and the playing fields at Walsh and the Community House. He said that the Soundview Family YMCA has been helpful in accommodating the town.
Palluzzi said he thought the 12-month schedule was not realistic, that 18 months was more likely. “We’ll get public blow-back,” he said.
Palluzzi said that even though there are fewer kids in the school system, there are more kids in sports.
Earlier in the meeting, during the Walsh update, John O’Connor, the Board of Education rep on the commission, questioned access to playing fields during the summer. “Sports start two weeks before classes,” he noted.
Cosgrove’s Second Job: Project Manager
Commission member Robert Barnett said that a Secondino (the contractor) representative and the clerk of the works need to be at a meeting and that perhaps a special meeting should be called. “They have to save some time,” he said.
Senior center director Dagmar Ridgway said that better communication is needed with the clerk of the works. Arcadis, McCloud of Bridgeport was chosen by the commission last November for the position.
Palluzzi did acknowledge that the Secondino firm has done a good job thus far.
Chair Peter Banca noted that First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove “is really the project manager.”
Before elected first selectman in 2013, Cosgrove served as the project manager for Cosgrove Construction, the family business. Gary Zielinksi, a longtime employee at Cosgrove Construction, now works for the town. He is essentially the acting director of the Public Works Department, Cosgrove has said. Cosgrove Construction is now closed. Zielinski was hired as a Public Works employee and later promoted to highway superintendent, his official title.
Brian Park, project manager for Quisenberry Arcari Architects, updated commissioners at the meeting at Fire Headquarters.
In terms of ongoing work, Park said there had been some change orders in the project, including additional asbestos abatement, a change in the dimension of some piping, and adding a stairway to the north side of the all-purpose room to the entrance.
Park said the shop drawings for steel fabrication have been submitted for approval, which precedes the delivery of the steel to the site. According to the schedule, the steel was supposed to be on site last month.
“Structural steel is a critical path,” said commission member Leonard Tamsin, Jr., adding that it takes two months to install.
Discussion ensued about whether a “recovery schedule” would be needed. A recovery schedule consists of revised plans for improving the projected completion dates of projects that fall behind the original schedule. The designated completion date for the $12.1 million community house project is Oct. 31.
Commissioners were asked to approve an invoice totaling $267,072.55 from A. Secondino for work completed. In light of the possible delay in the schedule, they discussed withholding a portion of the payment. The total portion for the steel is $24,000. Given the status of the shop drawings, an amount to be withheld would be $6,000. However, since other work was done in the meantime, the invoice was paid. Banca said there will be communications to the company that they must have a presence at future meetings and that a recovery schedule be produced.
Responding to O’Connor’s concern about access to Walsh facilities and athletic fields before the end of summer for sports, Scott Pellman of Collier’s International, the owner’s representative, said there probably would be no access at that time due to abatement. “Accommodations will have to be made,” he said.
O’Connor also mentioned pool access “since CIAC determines the schedule.” Schools Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez said that Doug Shaw (of the Soundview Family YMCA) “is aware of the schedules.”
Pellman said the bid amounts on the school were “positive… we have project numbers that are favorable” and that scheduling is being discussed with the construction superintendents, Colliers, and Antinozzi Architects. He said that Fusco, construction manager, is drafting the GMP (guaranteed maximum price), which should be ready the week of March 12. It will then go to the finance subcommittee.
Pellman said that proposals for stormwater monitoring are being discussed with the Department of Energy and Environment Protection.
A model of site circulation, incorporating changes in drop offs during construction, will be prepared in anticipation of public information sessions; it will also include relocation of the nurse’s and health offices. “It’ll give parents and fourth graders and idea of what the building would look like,” said Hernandez.
The commission subsequently approved $4,115 for a model to show the building in various phases to be built by Antinozzi.
Greg Plasdil of Fusco, the construction manager, said that subcontractors were being vetted and they’re talking to all bidders in all trades in anticipation of setting the GMP next week. He expects to award all subcontractors by next week.
A package of invoices was approved that were all within the budget.