Bid for more money floated for Sherman School renovations
Updated 6:32 am, Wednesday, August 17, 2011
An additional $1.2 million will be sought for the Sherman School addition/renovation project, which recently was swamped by federal rules on construction within a flood plain.
The latest effort to move forward with the project at the Fern Street elementary school, however, was recommended last week with two caveats.
First, members of the Special Projects Building Committee are banking on Assistant Planning Director James Wendt to certify that work on the gym and cafeteria ventilation systems will be considered maintenance, and therefore, would not count toward the FEMA cap on construction within flood plains. Under FEMA regulations, new construction cannot amount to more than 50 percent of a building's assessment -- in the school's case, around $4 million -- without expensive flood protection measures, like a berm.
Even with that assumption, a planned energy-recovery system for the school, with a price tag of $94,613, puts the total amount of construction at $2,017,883 -- still slightly over the FEMA cap. So, the committee members agreed to add the energy-recovery system if, after the addition is built, there is enough in the contingency fund to install it and still remain under the cap.
"I'm not going to get to the point of funding something $17,000 over what the FEMA regulations allow," Selectman James Walsh told the committee.
The additional funding brings the cost of the additions and renovations to $3.4 million, with $1.4 million for costs outside the FEMA cap, such as code compliance and soft costs like architect fees. The allocation must be approved by the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting.
Walsh also expressed concern that the project will be far behind schedule. Originally, work was to start Aug. 1, now the earliest possible date is Oct. 30. The main addition could be completed by the start of the December break, officials indicated.
"Before it was Aug. 1 to Nov. 1 and now we're starting Nov. 1 and you're telling me it's going to be ready in January," he said.
Committee member Al Kelly said the work on the kitchen is not going to affect anything, and the construction of an additional serving line can be done when students are not in school.
"I want to make sure we're not closing down the kitchen," Walsh said, but committee member Pam Iacono said when work was being done on the Osborn Hill School kitchen, students there were served cold, boxed lunches as an alternative.