CHICOPEE — Members from the Anna Barry School Building Commission met with two potential Owner’s Project Managers during its meeting on May 29.

Members from Colliers Engineering and Design, LiRo-Hill and Skanska USA both prepared presentations that introduced themselves, showed past projects they have worked on for relevant experience, presented a timeline and expressed their project understanding.

Chicopee Public Schools received the OK from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to move forward into the next phase of its proposal for renovating or constructing a new building after an Feb. 28 vote.

Based on the timeline from the MSBA, the committee must submit their decision for an OPM by June 5.
Chicopee advertised a request for an OPM to represent the owner during the feasibility study and schematic design phases of the project.

It stated that a potential approved project may include a renovation of the existing school, a renovation and addition of the existing School and/or new construction.

The estimated total project costs of an approved potential Project may range from $60,000,000 to $80,000,000 depending upon the solution that is agreed upon by the owner and the MSBA and that is ultimately approved by a vote of the MSBA Board of Directors.

According to the RFS, the tentative timeline shows that a decision for the OPM for the project will be chosen by July 3 with informal site visits, interviews and panels taking place before that.

The RFS was approved by the MSBA which outlines the request to study the problems and issues identified in the statement of interest, work with the enrollment projection of 340 students and come up with a plan to provide a better education passed on the challenges.

Anna E. Barry Elementary School was built in 1963 and Mayor John Vieau has described the building to have, “I call it functional obsolesces, when it comes to the way it was built with tiering. There’s no elevator and it’s really difficult, especially for a handicapped student, to make their way throughout the building.”

Other problems Vieau laid out is the gym is located on the third floor, the whole building is “laden” with asbestos in the ceilings and floors, there are single-pane windows, no air conditioning, no sprinkler system for fire suppression and an outdated roof, boiler, generator, phone and HVAC systems.

If the city decided to construct a new elementary school, Vieau said the city is looking into Article 97 if they decided to replace the school and build it on the abutting park behind the current location of Anna Barry.

The durations of the phases are estimates only, based on the owner’s experience but the RFS predicted the total duration of the contract is estimated as 20-24 months for the feasibility study/schematic design phase; 10-12 months for the design development/construction documents/bidding phase and 24-36 months for the construction phase.

All three presentations showed that each company is looking to have transparency with community by hosting multiple presentations and emphasizing outreach. They also both showed the importance of managing a budget and showing the cost of the projects along the way.

The committee will now go through their evaluations of each group before making a decision.

Once an OPM is decided, each group said they will be transparent and look for feedback from the community during the schematic and design phase for the project.

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