The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 12, 2010

Carlisle School Building project heads toward a spring vote

The Carlisle School Building Committee (SBC) voted to ask the Carlisle Board of Selectmen (BOS) to call a Special Town Meeting on April 5 to seek approval of $20 million for the Carlisle School Building Project. Around $13 million would be ultimately funded by Carlisle, and up to $7 million reimbursed to the town through a Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) grant.

The new building would link the Corey and Wilkins School buildings. (Drawing courtesy HMFH architects)


The town has a limited time in which to respond to the MSBA offer, and must decide before the last week in May. Annual Town Meeting is scheduled for May 10, however the decision to call an earlier meeting was made after reviewing two construction schedules. Carlisle’s Owner Project Manager Sean Fennell, of Daedalus, explained that by getting approval from the voters in April, the project can target a move-in date during April school vacation in 2012, demolish the Spalding building during the summer of 2012, and complete the final site work while the weather is good.

Spreading the word

The committee discussed various ways to make information about the building project available to the public. Carlisle Town Treasurer Larry Barton advised the committee to focus on the “substandard space at Spalding,” and explain the reasons for constructing a new building. The committee discussed and rejected the idea of having models built after learning the cost would be between $7,500 and $13,000. SBC public relations subcommittee member Christine Lear suggested filming a public presentation for broadcast on CCTV and offered to contact the League of Women Voters about hosting a forum. Arthur Duffy of HMFH architects proposed creating three-dimensional drawings, which could be printed and also used digitally to interactively “fly around” the buildings. The committee made a recommendation for a payment of $5,400 to HMFH to create the three- dimensional layouts. The payment would come out of the contingency fund which has approximately $95,000, added SBC Chair Lee Storrs. SBC member Bill Fink said a flyer about the project would be created and mailed by March 18. Reached later for comment, Storrs explained, “We anticipate that approximately $95,000 of the original $450,000 approved by the town for schematic design and related costs will not be spent during the schematic design. We are proposing these costs be included in the project contingency if the town approves funding for the balance of the project.”

Acceptance of MSBA grant

In an evening of votes, the committee voted to recommend to the BOS the acceptance of the MSBA grant of $6,988,637. Fennell presented an updated MSBA grant calculation analysis. The ineligible costs (those costs that do not qualify for 40% reimbursement) rose by $19,767. He pointed out the MSBA decreased the ineligible costs by $286,071 for the asbestos abatement and site costs, and added $50,000 for the previous master plan to the allowable costs. But the good news was balanced by bad news: the MSBA added the following to the ineligible costs: $25,000 of the feasibility study, $157,444 in “OPM fee over 3.5% of construction cost,” $167,091 in “Architect fee over 10% of construction cost,” and $77,404 in “soft costs that exceed 20% of construction costs.”

Duffy explained the HMFH bill. “Our fee turns out to be about 11% of the construction costs,” he explained, and said that 9% – 12% is traditionally “well within the range.” Fennell added that Daedalus “built our fee by applying a percentage” and had to anticipate how many man-hours the project would take. “I feel comfortable where that percentage lies,” he said. Storrs pointed out the site is complicated, both due to the physical features of the land and due to working around a school that is in session. “We need someone on site for the whole project” for safety, he explained.

Final payments for current phase

The SBC also voted to recommend to the BOS that final payments totaling $42,339.16 be made to HMFH Architects (for design), Daedalus (for project management) and McPhail Associates Inc. (for site drilling) for the first phase of the Carlisle School building project.

Any further work done by Daedalus or by HMFH would be done at “risk,” said Fennell, and could be billed only if the total construction cost of $20 million is approved at a Town Meeting. “If there is additional work [between now and the Town Meeting] we’ll work on it,” said Fennell. “We are committed to getting this done.” ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito