Permanent Building Committee Minutes
August 4, 2011 6:30 p.m. Chenery Meeting Room, Medfield Town Hall
Present: Thomas Erb, Timothy Bonfatti, John Nunnari. Also present were Selectmen Peterson and Thompson, DPW Supt Feeney, Council on Aging Chairman Fellini and Town Administrator Sullivan.
Chairman Erb called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. He took up item A. Do we recommend Yes/No to the Selectman that the public works department proceed with design, bidding and construction of the Salt Shed, stating that he supports proceeding with the salt shed. The type of construction i.e. design-build, modular, etc, was reviewed. It was concluded that a contractor should build the salt shed, and do the electrical work, and the highway department should do the paving. An architect’s stamp on the building plans should be obtained. The salt shed would be made of wood, with a concrete knee wall. Bonfatti acknowledged that a replacement salt shed was needed. Committee members agreed that there was no other site in the Town suitable for locating the salt shed. Bonfatti asked whether the salt shed could be built without interfering with operation of the existing town garage. Feeney said that it could and that depending on the condition of the old salt shed, it might be kept for additional storage. Feeney said that he would proceed with obtaining Planning Board site plan approval and a Zoning Board special permit. It was requested that copies of the RFP be sent to committee members prior to advertizing for bid, so that they could review it and make changes , if necessary. Bonfatti asked whether Town Counsel Cerel approved proceeding with the salt shed. He also asked whether HNTB, the town garage architects/engineers would prepare a performance spec and bid documents for the salt shed. Feeney will review the procedures and documents with Cerel. Bonfatti moved, seconded by Nunnari, and it was voted, unanimously, to proceed with construction of the salt shed, subject to approval of the RFP by the committee.
The next item on discussed was the development of a Capital Plan and process. Bonfatti felt that it was necessary to develop a Master Plan of future capital projects, and present this, along with existing debt schedules, future debt projections and a financing plan, including tax rate and fee impacts. He observed that the Public Works Department had no natural constituency, unlike the schools, police and fire, which could call upon residents to actively support their capital projects. He thought that it was important to point out to residents the necessity of building a new town garage and that it was a priority that needed to be done, before other capital projects could proceed. He also felt that it should be pointed out that the proposed town garage would provide space for school department maintenance vehicles and equipment, which had had been eliminated in the school renovations, to provide additional classroom space.
Bonfatti then proceeded to outline his concept of a new campus, centered on the section of Dale Street, between North Street and Adams Street. He felt that it could become a magnet for the Town, attracting new residents and addressing many of the capital needs of the Town, in a joint development concept. He noted that the Police-Fire expansion/renovation was projected for this location, as well as future renovation and/or expansion of the Dale Street School and the renovation and/or relocation of the Park and Recreation facilities. Sullivan pointed out that the area was already heavily utilized for employee and other parking needs and that the abutting residential neighborhoods would need to be considered, prior to such a proposal. Bonfatti agreed and said that extensive work would need to be done on such a proposal. He felt that the Master Plan was an important part of this and that extensive neighborhood, parental, Selectmen, Warrant Committee, School Committee involvement would be critical to its success. Fellini asked to be recognized and said that this proposal was a rehash of what was done ten years ago with Barry Colt’s Committee He said that the problem at that time was that these projects, town garage, police/fire stations and park and recreation building, came up at the same time as the School renovations and so were never done, except for the senior center. Bonfatti felt that the campus plan could be viewed as a strategic master plan for financing future capital projects. He also felt that it could work as a political problem solver to sell the Town on the need for the capital projects and to build a constituency for the Town Garage project. However, he felt that the questions of the size and type of construction needed to be more fully addressed, if the project is to be sold to the Town. He thought that a peer review wasn’t exactly what was needed, but a feasibility study addressing the issues raised by Peterson. He questioned where we should go with HNTB. Feeney pointed out that the Town owned the plans and specs for the town garage, as Town Counsel Cerel was careful to insert language about the Town’s rights to use them. Bonfatti noted that the new building code would not take effect until 2015, but the energy code would take effect next year. Sullivan felt that the first order of business was to convince the Board of Selectmen of the need for a replacement town garage, as the Selectmen had taken three different positions at the Town Meeting. It was agreed that the Committee should meet with the Selectmen in September to discuss the town garage replacement with them. Sullivan will schedule an appointment with the Selectmen for their September 20th meeting. Peterson felt that some discussion should take place on the quality of construction of public buildings in Medfield, noting that the police and fire station, which was of brick construction was also in need of renovation. He also told the Committee about a Harvard/MIT professor, whom he had heard speak as a recent meeting he attended, about building consensus on political issues and thought such an approach might work with the town garage project. Bonfatti felt that the Town could make better use of social media to inform and build support for capital projects. He said that the School Department had been successful in building support for its overrides, although he recognized that the School Department had a natural consistency to support its efforts, and could rely on private groups to get out information to residents on school issues, while the Public Works Department had no such constituency.
In addition to scheduling a meeting with the Board of Selectmen, it was agreed that the original feasibility study on the town garage should be circulated among Committee members. The Committee also decided to meet with the Police and Fire Chiefs, the Superintendent of School s and the Park and Recreation Commission to explore the idea of developing a master plan for the various departmental plans, focused on the concept of a Dale Street campus. The Committee agreed that a meeting for this purpose should be scheduled for Thursday, September 8th at 6:30 p.m. at the town hall.
On a motion by Bonfatti, seconded by Nunnari, it was voted, unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m.