Now that the thrill of Town Meeting has worn off, town officials this week began talking about the next steps for building projects the voters have blessed.
Under discussion at meetings this week were renovations to the former Santander Bank building at 100 Route 6A and the Sandwich Public Library at 142 Main Street.
Renovations to the former Santander building on Route 6A are not expected to begin until next spring, but the first of many preliminary steps will begin this month, Town Manager George H. (Bud) Dunham told members of the finance committee on Tuesday, November 12.
Design and construction documents for the new town office building will be given to an independent cost estimator and that company will supply the town with an estimate in the next few weeks, Mr. Dunham said.
“The design development plans go to the cost estimating firm later this week and it will likely take until early December to get them back,” Mr. Dunham said after the meeting.
“Depending on what the estimates say, we may need to revisit our plans before they’re finalized and the bid documents are prepared,” Mr. Dunham said. “Hopefully, the estimates are in line with the renovations we need to complete and we don’t have to change anything.”
Meanwhile, a bid document is being prepared by town staff. An invitation to bid—seeking a general contractor and subcontractors—is expected to be issued in January, the town manager said.
The bidding process will be open for about four weeks.
In March and April the bids will be reviewed, and the contractor and subcontractor will be selected, according to Mr. Dunham’s schedule.
The work will begin in April and is expected to be completed in late 2020 or early 2021, Mr. Dunham said. By that time, the offices and staff will have been moved from various town offices—at Jan Sebastian Drive, the Town Hall Annex on Main Street, and town hall—according to the schedule.
Although the existing town hall at 130 Main Street will remain in the town’s possession, the other town office buildings will be put up for sale in the spring of 2021, with the sales expected to be completed by the summer of that year.
Voters in May approved $3.95 million to purchase and renovate the old bank building.
The estimated $1.85 million in building upgrades will include the addition of 38 more parking spaces, upgrades to the septic system, a new layout, and general repairs and renovations.
Preliminary plans show that all offices with heavy foot traffic—including the tax collector, the town clerk, the town manager/selectmen, and building inspections and permitting—would be located on the first floor.
The lower floor of the former bank building would be home to the human resources, engineering, planning and development, and IT departments.
“The new building can accommodate 51 employees—the number we would be moving from town hall, the town hall annex and the town office building at 16 Jan Sebastian Drive,” Mr. Dunham has said.
At the Sandwich Library board of trustees meeting, also held Tuesday, November 12, library Director Joanne Lamothe also laid out a schedule for next steps.
State regulations governing projects costing $1 million or more must also be overseen by a project manager, Ms. Lamothe said, so the first step will be putting out a bid invitation and awarding a contract for said manager.
Next, the library and the town will be asking the architect to complete the next phase of design contract, which will include detailed mechanical, electrical and plumbing specifications, the director said.
Those plans will include the interior design and the color palette for the Main Street library, Ms. Lamothe said.
The library, which has not been redesigned since the 1980s, will be renovated into a technology-friendly building with inviting, uncluttered rooms filled with light and open space.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the $3.5 million project at a Special Town Meeting on October 28.
The renovated library will include a new space for the archives, enlarged meeting spaces and a larger children’s room. The children’s room windows will overlook the forest and bins of books, rather than the stacks to make it easier for children to browse the collections.
Ms. Lamothe said pricing for all the construction phases must be finalized, and a site must be selected for relocating staff and library services while the construction work is underway. That site has not yet been discussed publicly by town officials.
“If all that goes swimmingly, we could be ready for construction by summer, but that’s not a good time for us,” Ms. Lamothe said.
Summer is the library’s busiest season, Ms. Lamothe and members of the board of trustees said on Tuesday.
“Fall would be better for us, but it’s too early in the process to really be thinking about that,” Ms. Lamothe said after the meeting.
The work is expected to be completed within a year after the start of construction.