Mu­nic­i­pal com­plex mov­ing ahead

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Mill

EAST HAMP­TON — The new town hall/po­lice depart­ment is about to take an­other im­por­tant step for­ward.

The gen­eral con­trac­tor for the $18.9 mil­lion project is re­view­ing bids sub­mit­ted by po­ten­tial sub­con­trac­tors to ensure their pro­pos­als meet spec­i­fied re­quire­ments. New­field Con­struc­tion is work­ing with con­struc­tion man­ager Stephen Motto to re­view bids filed last week.

New­field is ex­pected to present a mem­o­ran­dum con­tain­ing a list of ap­proved low bid­ders to the build­ing com­mit­tee next week for its ap­proval, ac­cord­ing to Town Man­ager Michael Manis­calco, who added, “We should have it in hand by end of next week.”

Manis­calco ac­knowl­edged the site, lo­cated in the Edge­wa­ter Hills mixed-use devel­op­ment, was turned into a quag­mire by last week’s weather.

“We’ve been chal­lenged by the per­sis­tent rain­storms,” he said. “It’s been in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult work­ing. The site’s very muddy, and we have been try­ing to deal with the runoff and man­age it so that the wa­ter’s as clean as it can be as it en­ters the lake (Po­co­topaug).”

Rain has been per­sis­tent fac­tor as the project pro­gresses. Ground was bro­ken for the project Sept. 28. It rained.

Mean­while, the con­crete foun­da­tion for the 34,000-square-foot, two-story build­ing has been poured.

“As the gen­eral (con­trac­tor), New­field hires all the [sub-con­trac­tors],” Manis­calco said. “(Sub­con­trac­tors in­clude) gen­eral trades, elec­tri­cal, steel, dry­wall, roof­ing and [heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air-con­di­tion­ing]. The con­crete is in, so it’s ev­ery­thing from the con­crete up.”

As they re­view bid sub­mis­sions, New­field’s en­gi­neers and Motto will also be look­ing to ensure bid­ders take into ac­count “add/alts” — ad­di­tions and al­ter­na­tives in­tended to keep the project within bud­get, Manis­calco said.

These are pre­ferred items that be can be added to the project if there is suf­fi­cient sav­ings, or dropped if there isn’t.

Motto and his wife Lisa are de­vel­op­ing Edge­wa­ter Hills. They ap­proached the town about build­ing the town hall on a 5-acre par­cel of land in­side the com­plex. The build­ing will house gov­ern­ment of­fices, the po­lice depart­ment and Board of Ed­u­ca­tion. The first two now oc­cupy a de­crepit, two-story build­ing some seven decades old, and has, Manis­calco said, ex­hausted its us­able life.

Nearly all fea­tures of the cur­rent fa­cil­ity are de­fi­cient, of­fi­cials say, from the well that serves the build­ing be­ing con­tam­i­nated, to a shift­ing foun­da­tion, leaks in the roof, a lack of ad­e­quate park­ing and the in­abil­ity of hand­i­capped res­i­dents to ac­cess the build­ing.

The nearly 3,000-square-foot po­lice sta­tion lacks a fe­male bath and chang­ing room, which pre­vents the depart­ment from hir­ing fe­male of­fi­cers. Head­quar­ters is de­fi­cient in other ways, which in­hibit the depart­ment from be­ing the 21st-cen­tury force that res­i­dents and of­fi­cers alike should ex­pect, Po­lice Chief Den­nis Woess­ner has said.

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