The bids for the Public Safety Complex are in.
Nine firms bid, with the base totals running from a low of $5,135,000 from A. Secondino & Son, Inc., to a high of $6,315,000, from Sarazin General Contractors.
The bids were opened at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday.
Ten so-called “alternates,” potential additions to the base price, would add more cost for more substance.
The bids are very much in the ballpark of what was expected, says Town Planner Marcia Vlaun, who is the project manager.
Mayor Joe Jaskiewicz concurs.
“It’s about what I expected,” he says.
You walk into Town Hall a few minutes before 2 p.m., and a large sign directs you to the Finance Department, where the bids are to be dropped off. By 2 p.m.
Another sign directs you to the bid opening, in the Town Council chamber, at 2:15 p.m.
In the hallway outside the Finance Department, a man sits, cell phone to ear, writing on a thick sheaf of papers on his lap.
Down an intersecting hall, another man looks out a window and talks on the phone. A third man makes notes on his bunch of documents.
Vlaun is nowhere to be found. Speculation is that she’s out there, somewhere, pacing.
The Public Safety Complex has been a long time coming. The current police station, in a former toll building, is cramped, to say the least. It is inadequate on many levels, form the parking area to the plumbing to the location.
The town voted in November to approve a $6.5 million bond to fund the project. The Public Safety Building Committee has been meeting regularly since. All permits have been secured; the plans have been adjusted here and there to conform with reality. Some furniture has been chosen, some of the decorative elements have been chosen, and the look has been solidified.
So far, Vlaun says, the project is on time and on budget.
It is 2 p.m., and you are waiting in the Town Council chamber. Vlaun walks in, carrying a gray milk carton. Her blue-checked shirt is wrinkled, hanging out of her jeans. Her face looks strained. She puts the box on the table in front of the council’s dais, and takes a seat where the council members usually sit.
There are 15 minutes to wait, until the bids can be opened.
The mayor comes in, speaks to this member of the Public Safety Building Committee. Speaks to that one.
Contractors and their emissaries sit here and there in the council chamber. There is not much talking.
Council Chairman Donna Jacobson sits in the back. Council member Billy Caron sits about halfway up.
The mayor squints at the clock.
You ask Vlaun what the 15 minutes are for.
“For me to get a new stomach lining?” she asks.
Public Safety Building Committee Vice Chairman Bill Bucko waits in the hall outside the Planning Department. It’s not 2 p.m. yet. He is looking at a map tacked to a bulletin board, a map he has probably looked at 1,000 times already.
The really important part now, he says, is “getting a good field superintendent.”
That’s the make-or-break of something like this, he says.
The field superintendent needs to know the contractors, the submittal data, the design and outlay of the whole project.
“We need a firecracker of a superintendent,” Bucko says.
There is a certain ritual to the bid opening.
Two men from Kaestle-Boos, the architecture firm, sit at the table at the front of the room. One of them, Fred Khericha, does the opening, and reads the names of the contractors and the amounts they have bid. He speaks slowly, but with an accent, and sometimes, you can barely understand him.
But Finance Director Terry Hart is sitting at the table with Khericha, and she knows the names. She has them printed out already, on a long sheet with blank spaces for the numbers.
She fills out the numbers as Khericha reads.
Then he opens another envelope, and the process begins again.
The “alternates” include an on-site storage building, personnel duty lockers, a sidewalk along Route 32. They include security cameras, an impound lot, a site sign wall, mirrors for the fitness room, acoustical panels, site plantings and a tower camera.
It’s after 2:30 now, and the bids have all been opened. The contractors are mostly gone. The Public Safety Building Committee members sit at the council desk, talking. There are some smiles. The tension is gone.
Jon Leonard says the bids are “right in the ballpark.”
Vlaun says that all the firms have been prequalified by the state, and that there is an apparent low bidder.
The bids go now to a subcommittee, says Chairman Jack Platt.
The public safety complex might not have all the add-ons and alternates that everyone wanted, says Leonard, but that’s OK. “We wanted to make sure they wouldn’t push us over (budget).
“Our primary concern is keeping it within the livable range for the taxpayer.”
“We’d always want it less,” Platt says. “The numbers came in right where we thought they would.”
“There is no disappointment,” Vlaun says.
The bids were:
- A. Secondino & Son, Inc: $5,135,000
- Barr, Inc.: $5,587,000
- Enfield Builders: $5,744,000
- Kronenberger & Sons: $6,154,000
- The Nutmeg Companies: $5,760,250
- Rudolph Netsch Construction Co., Inc.: $5,480,663
- Sarazin General Contractors: $6,315,000
- W.J. Mountford Company: $5,929,000
- Connecticut Carpentry: $5,761,000
An earlier version of this story had the chairmanship and vice chairmanship reversed.