Norwich selects East Hartford firm to oversee first phase of $385M school project
Norwich — The School Building Committee has selected an East Hartford firm to manage the construction of the first three new schools included in the $385 million school construction project approved by voters in November.
The committee voted unanimously to hire Construction Solutions Group of East Hartford for $3.68 million as the city’s owner’s representative. The firm will oversee the applications for state reimbursement for the bulk of the cost, design and construction of the three schools in the first phase of the project. The group will review the project master plan, firm up cost estimates and file for state reimbursement grants by the June 30 deadline.
The project calls for building four new elementary schools to replace the current seven schools, either renovating or replacing Teachers’ Memorial Global Studies Middle School and renovating the Samuel Huntington Elementary School to become the adult education center and administrative offices.
The plan calls for construction of a new school on the grounds of the former Greeneville School and construction of new schools to replace the John B. Stanton and Uncas schools on the grounds of those schools. Once completed, students in current schools will move to the new buildings, and the old buildings will be torn down and new sports fields and playgrounds built.
The City Council last week delayed votes to submit requests to the state for project reimbursement for the first three schools, preferring to wait until the owners’ representative is on board to verify that Greeneville, Stanton and Uncas should be the first schools built.
School Building Committee Chairman Mark Bettencourt said five firms applied to be the owner’s representative. Construction Solutions was one of three finalists. The firm was “in the median range” for price, and comparable to the other finalists, Bettencourt said.
City Purchasing Agent Bob Castronova verified the firm’s references.
“Obviously, money is an element, but our primary concern is bringing someone in who has a good understanding of the project,” Bettencourt said. “They’ve been watching the process and have a very good understanding of the timeline, and they have ideas to adjust the timeline.”
Jim Guiliano, president and founder of Construction Solutions, said the company which was founded in 2014, has 18 employees. It primarily works on school and nonprofit projects. The company’s website lists work on Farmington High School, the Colchester Senior Center and the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk as recent projects.
Guiliano said the most important first step in Norwich is to organize the paperwork and verify estimates to submit the reimbursement application to the state by the deadline.
Construction Solutions will represent the Norwich School Building Committee, coordinate the design and construction process, ensuring maximum reimbursement rates from the state, Guiliano said. He called it “a balancing act” to meet the needs of the project, the budget and the state.