HERMON – Town councilors and members of the community fired nearly two hours of questions at architects, building committee members and town officials during a special council meeting Thursday night to share information on the middle school renovation and construction project.
Councilors requested the special council meeting after some felt as if they were left in the dark about many of the details involved in the project.
“It’s really the first presentation the council has had,” Councilor Michael Soucy said, after the meeting. “We wanted to know what was being built, all of the factors that drive costs. Also, what rooms we needed, the sizes needed and the magnitude of renovation there was going to be.”
On June 14, 2005, voters approved a $4.3 million bond to perform renovations and construction at the middle school site and the general contractor bid went out this year on May 16. Five prequalified contractors have been involved in the bidding process and final bids are due June 15.
Three architects with WBRC Architects-Engineers attended Thursday night’s meeting and presented a slideshow of designs, which included one of the facility’s appearance in August 2007, if the project is completed as intended.
The addition to the existing building will house a 50 feet by 74 feet gymnasium, a music room, art room, catering kitchen, restrooms accessible during public events and an office at the newly designed front entrance to the building, which will allow administrators to monitor the traffic in the facility.
Renovations made to the existing building will bring the fire alarm system up to code, install a new hot water heating system, a ventilation system, sprinkler system, install a new sewer system and completely renovate the restrooms.
Soucy, one of two councilors who asked several questions, inquired about the large size of the basketball court and the need for a new sewer system, but the architects assured him that the court is standard when compared to area middle school courts, and the sewer system is from the 1950s and in dire need of replacement, according to Ed Marsh, building committee chair.
“We didn’t want to get in the issue where school is shut down, which we’ve done in the past, because they can’t use the bathroom,” Marsh said.
Despite the final bids received from contractors, there are some projects that just need to be done with the money the town has already approved, Town Manager Clint Deschene said during the sewer system discussion.
“Overall it was a very positive meeting to assure the town council and members of the public what the project is looking like,” Marsh said. “Now for June 15 we’re crossing our fingers that we come close to $4.3 million.”