HADLEY — In May, Annual Town Meeting voted to begin the planning process to replace the building that houses the DPW.

The DPW Building Committee accomplished an early-stage task when it conducted interviews for a project manager on May 14.

The building committee, led by Chair James Maksimoski, interviewed four very different candidates. P-Three Inc., dedicated municipal project managers out of Norwell, were not favored. City Point, offering project management for municipalities, recently merged with HDR. Building committee members also did not prefer the company’s project management services.

Colliers, a multi-national company offering a wide variety of services for real estate, municipal and commercial development, was chosen by a 5-0 vote of the committee to be the first choice for project management. CMS, represented by Neil Joyce, was chosen as a second preferred management firm.

Colliers has a track record with the town.

“Colliers, we had a few good experiences with them,” Maksimoski said. “CMS, I was really impressed by them. When I got done I thought, this is close.”

Maksimoski said the building committee is a “seek and find kind of a deal.” What’s needed? Where could it be built? The Selectboard had some monies remaining from another project and a consultant was offering advisement. Committee members went on tours of several DPW facilities in other towns to be more aware of the possibilities.

“We had an idea of what we wanted,” Maksimoski said. “We’d like a building about this big, based on what the consultant gave us. You need some office space, you need a break room, those necessities, restrooms and so on and so forth, and storage and maintenance.”

The committee, in their discussions of the size of the future facility, based their estimates on the size of the town and the equipment the town owns. The tours of other DPW facilities, smaller, of similar size and larger, offered ideas about what is available in the area and what will serve the specific needs of Hadley’s Highway Department.

Superintendents in other towns told them what was essential and what doesn’t work. Storage space is important. Maksimoski said the committee, which includes members who are seasoned in construction practices, a first in his experience, already made many of the decisions that were necessary before talking to candidates.

Building public works facilities is a booming business. All the new buildings visited by committee members were built in the last 10 years. The prices for those facilities were far lower than a building costs today. Supply chain issues sent prices higher, Maksimoski said, sometimes to double the previous cost for materials.

The committee came up with a ballpark figure of $28 million for a new DPW building, but it wasn’t based on a design. The consultants suggested the committee seek funding at Town Meeting to hire a project manager and pay for schematic designs. Schematic designs are not usable as construction documents, but will enable reaching accurate estimates for project costs.

“The committee decided the best place to put this facility is where the existing DPW is,” Maksimoski said. “And with schematic design, you’ll get a much more accurate estimate on construction … It’ll be a more realistic price.”

Maksimoski said the owner’s project manager, or OPM, will help the town choose an architect. The OPM will be with the project, start to finish, as the committee’s eyes and ears. The $28 million price tag wouldn’t fly. The consultant suggested the building committee request from Town Meeting enough funding to accomplish the groundwork, the planning.

The next step in the process is to negotiate remuneration for the OPM and hire one.

“I assume the Selectboard will go along with this,” Maksimoski said. “Then it’s a matter of getting that company back in to negotiate the price.”

Maksimoski estimated it would take six to eight weeks to hire an OPM. He said a funding vote at Annual Town Meeting will probably not be possible for two cycles, until 2026.

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