Miller-Driscoll renovation: Final state check to Wilton may be nearly $1 million

As the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee winds down its work, members heard at their Dec. 14 meeting that a final reimbursement check from the state could be in the amount of about $900,000. That was termed a conservative estimate by Turner Construction project manager Mike Douyard. He could not say when the check would arrive since the state needs to do a final audit of the project.

The town has already received two reimbursement checks in the amount of $3,839,889 and $2,928,336. With the third check, the town would receive approximately $7,668,225 from the state toward the cost of the renovation.

Committed costs to date amount to $44,008,584. Minus the state reimbursement, the estimated total cost of the project will come in around $36,340,359.

Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz told The Bulletin earlier this year actual bonding as of April 2017 amounted to $29,239,000 with an estimated $7 million left to bond. That would bring total bonding very close to the estimated project cost.

Voters originally approved $50,022,000 for the project.
Air conditioning fix
The committed costs to date include approximately $500,000 added in to pay for fixing an unanticipated problem with the heating and air conditioning system. At the end of the last school year some teachers complained their rooms felt “stuffy.” The problem had to do with humidity levels in the renovated classrooms. Newly built classrooms do not have this problem.

At the committee meeting on Nov. 9, Burney told members the solution is to install reheat coils for each of the 47 affected classrooms, and he reiterated on Dec. 14 he had “no doubts” this would solve the problem. The HVAC contractor will install the coils in a pod of eight classrooms in the spring, and then the rest of the classrooms will be addressed over the summer.

Committee member Dick Dubow asked if the reheat coils would require any maintenance. Burney said any maintenance would be “minimal.”

As for any financial recourse, committee vice chair Glenn Hemmerle, committee member Rick Tomasetti, and architect Randall Luther felt there was little the town could do in this regard.

“I don’t see this as there’s some wholesale omission in the design documents,” Tomasetti said, adding “I don’t think we’re harmed in any way.”

Noting the town would have had to pay for the reheat coils if they were included in the original design he said, “At the end of the day you wind up at the same place.”
End in sight
Douyard reported Turner will close its field office at the school this week and he anticipates the certificate of occupancy will be finalized by Jan. 15.

Final approval for the remaining 13 building contracts could not be given since attending members did not achieve a quorum. For that reason, the payment of monthly invoices could not be approved.

When asked about the invoice payment Burney told The Bulletin by email “There is an established process whereby if the building committee doesn’t meet or can’t meet, I can present invoices to the [Board of Selectmen] as long as the normal review by Rick Tomasetti and the architect have been done and I have reviewed and signed off. That will be the case here.” Tomasetti is one of two committee members in charge of reviewing invoices each month before presenting them to the entire committee for approval.

Patti Temple, who is the first selectman’s liaison to the committee, said 300 people turned out for an open house on Nov. 18, most of them families with small children. It was also noted Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith held an open house specifically for real estate agents and about 90 attended.

The committee’s next meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 11, 5 p.m., in the Wilton High School Library mezzanine.