Comstock renovation $2 million over expected budget

The renovation of Comstock Community Center may cost up to $9.9 million, if estimates by Turner Construction and architectural firm Quisenberry Arcari end up on target. 

This is up almost $2 million from the amount initially taken into account for the 2015 municipal budget.

First Selectman Bill Brennan said considering a previous project for Comstock was once budgeted at $25 million, this plan represents an economic renovation of a 50-year-old building.

“Comstock is a very active building, it’s the only community center in town, and it is used by a range of citizens from age four to age 90,” he said. “We can call this the Lazarus building, because we’re bringing it back to life.”

Ty Tregalis, of Turner Construction, presented cost estimates to the Board of Selectmen Monday, and said his company’s models closely matched estimates provided by Quisenberry Arcari — the architectural firm for this project.

An executive summary of a 20-page estimate by Turner Construction showed the estimated cost for the “building core and shell” came to $3,208,000, while the building “fitout costs” came to $4,214,000.

The building core and shell costs include things like the roof, exterior walls and main mechanical and electrical systems.

The fitout costs include paint, carpeting, individual duct runs within the space, lights, and outlets, Mr. Tygersson said.

Site work for the project totaled $480,000, and soft costs came to $1,976,000.

Mr. Brennan said these numbers included contingency funds, which are especially necessary when working on such an old building.

After estimates were presented, Comstock Community Center project chair Judy Zucker told the board she and her committee had attempted to mitigate costs by cutting unnecessary items from the plan. The group specifically looked at the deck outside the senior center, the building’s rear patio, and secondary security features.

When the numbers were crunched, however, the committee found the items easiest to cut from the project also carried minimal costs. The value these items added to the project, Ms. Zucker said, outweighed those costs.

A larger possible change to the plan was the consideration of a two-pipe heating and cooling system versus a four-pipe heating and cooling system

If one is managing the temperature in a building with a two-pipe system, committee member Bruce Hampson said, “there is a day during the fall you select to turn on the heating system,” because it can only be in heating or cooling mode.

A four-pipe system, on the other hand, allows portions of a building to use the cooling system while others use the heating system.

While the four-pipe system would cost approximately $68,000 more, Mr. Hampson and the committee felt the comfort it would offer those working in the community center made it a worthwhile enhancement.

“There will be days when you want to heat and then cool [later], and the next day will be just the opposite. On the south side of the building you might need cooling, where on the north you might not need it on the same day,” Mr. Hampson said.