Comstock renovation project is on target

The Comstock Community Center, under construction since March, is still on target to have renovations finished by January.
In addition to Parks and Recreation, Social Services and the senior center are in the building.
The northern portion of the “west wing” of the center that constitutes the first building phase scheduled to be completed by September, was originally built in 1955 and 1957.
“We’re replacing everything in the older part of the building,” said Ty Tregellas, project executive for Turner Construction, “and upgrading the mechanical and electrical infrastructure in the 1995 two-story annex.”
Upgrading that annex, which Comstock Building Committee Chairman Judy Zucker referred to as the “east wing,” is also a part of phase one.
Phase two will run from September to January and will include improvements to the southern section of the west wing and the senior center café.
As a part of phase one, the fire alarm system will be upgraded and a new sprinkler system will be installed throughout the building.
So far, the bulk of infrastructure replacements and the new exterior wall have been completed for phase one.
“Once we’re completely done with infrastructure,” said Tregellas, “we’ll be painting, installing the ceilings and Sheetrock, installing the electrical network, and putting glass into the new metal window frames.
“Now is essentially the rough-in stage,” he said.

Board update

Zucker and Tregellas gave a construction update to the Board of Selectmen at its July 6 meeting.
The project is still within its $9.9 million-budget.
Completion of the overall project increased from 27% to 42% in the last month. “That means that June was a big month,” said Tregellas.
In March, April and May, the project averaged $700,000 in expenditures. In June it reached $1.2 million, which Tregellas said indicated a large amount of the more expensive mechanical electrical systems, such as rooftop units, boilers and switchgear, and chillers had been installed and billed.


Among the upgrades to the building are:

  • New air conditioning units, which will add AC to the gym for the first time. According to Tregellas, the new systems will be efficient and will make the building better-than-code in terms of energy efficiency. One of the new units is referred to as a “chiller.” A chiller produces chilled water which circulates to various HVAC units and cools the building in summer months.

  • A new metal canopy is being built at the front entrance.

  • The builders have partitioned off a section of the senior center’s art room and turned it into a bathroom, the completion of which is part of phase one.

  • The builders have gutted the utility room and added two new gas boilers in place of the oil-fired boiler that existed previously.

According to Tregellas, the installation of the new electrical infrastructure has been a challenge, mainly due to the fact that they had to keep the occupied portion of the building operational on the existing electrical system, while installing the new electrical equipment. Then when the new switchgear is energized later in July, the existing panels will be tied into the new system and the balance of the old equipment will be removed.

A team of two

Tregellas and Zucker spoke highly of one another.
“It’s not uncommon to have a retired person assume the chair of a building committee; Judy is a real asset to us. We need someone to make decisions; that’s Judy and the building committee,” said Tregellas.
“It’s teamwork,” said Zucker. “We’re working with a compressed time-table. Every step is essential, and furthermore, it is essential that steps are taken in the proper order, so you need to be on the same page.”
“We have 17 major trade contracts,” Zucker added. “I can’t speak highly enough about our construction managers (Turner). Managing schedules in a job like this requires major responsibility. You deal with a lot of construction surprises with old buildings. You uncover things during the process that you couldn’t have known about, and you have to deal with them in real time.”
No square footage is being added to Comstock Community Center.