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Municipal Buildings Panel Meets New Vendor



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Newtown’s Municipal Buildings Strategic Plan Advisory Committee met April 27 at the C.H. Booth Library so each panel member could hear from a consultant who will be reviewing and developing recommendations on three public facilities under priority focus by the group.

The volunteers were introduced to Ken Best, representing Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc (DRA), a South Windsor firm that employs architects, planners, interior designers, and construction administrators that serve both municipal and commercial clients throughout the Northeast.

During that meeting, Mr Best told members that he had met with town Public Works Director Fred Hurley, and had already looked through the current Hook & Ladder headquarters, Town Hall South and the multipurpose building that currently houses the Senior Center and Children’s Adventure Center preschool.

During those preliminary visits, Mr Best told the panel that he already noted a “crazy amount of things,” amounting to various building concerns and code compliance issues. He said his first task will be to take measurements so he could develop a set of floor plans in proper scale, so the panel could begin evaluating the multitude of issues developed, and plans to address them, if appropriate.

The committee, consisting of residents Bill Brimmer, Walt Motyka, Jay Maher, Paul Lundquist, Jim Filan, Scott Cicciari, Mike Marinaccio, Michelle Ku, Kathy Hamilton, and Rebekah Harriman, is utilizing the services of Geralyn Hoerauf of Diversified Project Management for administrative support.

The panel is expected to eventually produce the most comprehensive analysis of town-owned buildings and facilities ever mounted in Newtown. During the group’s latest meeting, it appeared its members were all impressed and convinced that Mr Best and the DRA team could help deliver analyses of that scope and quality.

As part of the brief presentation, Mr Best exhibited two binders containing reports conducted for another municipality, which involved dozens of buildings and other facilities including schools, encompassing millions of square feet of space. Thumbing through the larger binder, he showed how each single point of concern was photographed and detailed for review.

Once all issues were reported, Mr Best and his colleagues developed a priority ranking system detailing the scope of their concerns from worst to best, using “simple to understand documentation.”

After all preliminary documentation and rankings are identified, he said the team would produce a second, smaller report referencing each ranked item, and fixing cost estimates to repair, correct, or bring the identified issues into code compliance. He said that secondary report could even break out projects to overlay with Newtown’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that roadmaps capital spending and planned timelines for major taxpayer-funded projects, and could even scope out costs and priorities for future projects far beyond that five-year window.

Ms Hoerauf said she anticipates that it will take the DRA Team about eight weeks to complete the physical analyses of the buildings in question, while at the same time building the final report.

“By the end of June we should have something we can start working with,” she told the panel. Ms Hamilton, who is also a Board of Education member, said that timing would line up well with the anticipated delivery of a school district facility analysis that is wrapping up now.

While the Municipal Buildings Strategic Plan Advisory Committee was not expecting to see much in the way of a formal report from Mr Best until June, they decided to meet in late May to get an update on progress from the new consultant.

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