Public Safety Building Committee

Ashby Public Safety Building Project Information with Q&A

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Public Safety Building Q&A

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General FeedbackWhat do you get for...?Overview and Design (UPDATED)Costs (UPDATED)Funding
There needs to be a way of communicating concerns or support without facing backlash.
The committee fully agrees that all participants should be able to voice their concerns in a constructive and non-confrontational manner. The Committee supports the public and encourages their input in the process. The committee cannot control social media or responses from other citizens. The Committee has vetted the information that resides in the PSBC location on the Town’s website. Please be advised that the information posted there may be dated, as the information has remained on the site as the design process has matured.
The committee should be restructured or rebuilt to help address citizen concerns, emergency requirements, and overall costs.
Taking this into consideration the Fire Chief and Police Chief have stepped down as a voting members. However, Chief Bussell and Chief Alden remain on the board as an ex officio member. As the officials most responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the Citizens of Ashby along with the many Police and Fire personnel, the Committee considers their input invaluable in the development of a public safety facility that will support the community and its occupants for more than 40 years.
There is concern that senior citizens will struggle.
We continue to make all efforts to reduce costs involved with the construction and furnishing of the building in order to provide the best overall value to the town. Completion of the facility will lead to better response and better services for the senior citizens and all other residents of Ashby.

The Police and Fire Departments provide an essential service to the Town and to each resident and each resident benefits from the professionalism of these officers and firefighters. There is no way to avoid the cost for these services but we have tried as much as feasible to reduce this project’s construction costs to lower its impact to every resident and taxpayer.

The cost of this project should also be weighed against the potential liability that the existing Police trailer and Fire station impose on the Town and the real possibility of accident or injury occurring to Town personnel or others for which lawsuits and remedies could be significant and unpredictable.

What does a pre-engineered building get you for about $2.2M in Massachusetts
  • Architecture & OPM services
  • Slab on grade foundation, no site work beyond building footprint
  • On the Site of the Existing DPW with existing water and sewer connections 6 bays, no interior finishes, single Toilet & Shower area
  • Fire protection, generator, minimal heating as the space is “unoccupied”
  • On site trades including building erection, bid MGL c149
    Completed in 2018
What could we build for $4M?
The Town of Hadley is just now completing a Fire Sub Station Project of $3.8M dollars on Town owned land:

  • 2 apparatus bays
  • 5,385 GSF
  • The site did not require well or septic.
  • Construction Cost at bid was $2,385,550
  • Construction Cost at end of project (including Change Orders) was
    $2,589,020 ($481/ Sq Ft)
  • Total Project Budget is $3,755,400 ($697/Sq Ft)
In response to the recent question; how does the Ashby Police Dept. handle impounded vehicles now and what provisions are in the proposed Public Safety Building project? (NEW)
Currently the PD has no controlled environmental area for processing impounded vehicles. Vehicles are kept at the PD facility or the vehicle maybe stored/secured at a facility until such time that the vehicle can be released. Payment is always a concern as to whether the Town, vehicle owner, or insurance company is responsible for storage costs. The Police Department is also responsible for maintaining the condition or preventing further damage to such vehicles under their control. Without getting into specifics, the PD is currently holding and responsible for a vehicle that has been held for almost a year.

The proposed facility has 2 garage bays that are currently designed as “add-alternates” and would only be included if they fit within the bid. One bay would be for processing and short term holding of such vehicles and could be used for longer secured safekeeping of vehicles that have evidentiary value. After processing most vehicles can be stored outside and should be in a “secure” area. The proposed site does not include these provisions but it could be added to the project at a later date for approximately $5,000.00 to $7,000.00 should the funding be available.

Why is money being spent for a plan that was not approved? If approved by the voters, does the Board of Selectmen also have a chance to approve?
The Public Safety Building Committee has been tasked with managing the assessment of the existing Police and Fire station, selecting and managing design and project management professionals and bringing forth the proposed solution for the long-term benefit of the community. This did not happen in a vacuum or overnight. It has been over three years of public meetings and input to develop the current reduced and refined plans.

The committee has been appointed by and reports to the Select Board. Throughout the process the building committee has given updates and presentations to the Select Board and often times select-board members have taken part in the Building Committee meetings and design forums.

Why are there not multiple plans to choose from?
There are costs involved with the development and estimating of options. Over the past three years the Committee acting through public meetings and presentations has looked at many options. Initially ranging from 19,000sf and over 10.0M dollars the Committee has worked with the Police and Fire Department along with the designer and OPM to reduce the floor plan by 40% and the projected cost by 30% In the course of the design process multiple design iterations were considered.

Spaces were added and deleted as appropriate as the design matured. Some of the design iterations considered included a two story design to minimize the footprint, however as costs of complying with ADA mandated elevators, stairs, and other fundamental design elements, the costs of that option was actually higher than the plan presented now. While there was not specific public voting on these design iterations, the open meetings offered those in attendance the opportunity to question or comment as the design progressed over time.

Some of the iterations are available on the web site to review. Others may not have been officially captured, as they never were more than schematic sketches, but the meeting minutes should show the tenor of the discussions that occurred.

Are there space saving designs that could reduce the square footage and potentially the costs without sacrificing the function?
There has been much commentary that the Committee is not listening and or reducing the building plans and requirements and that is not the case. We welcome the Communities input regarding changes as we strive to bring the best project forward.

The PSBC, in coordination with the Architect and OPM, have continually evaluated the design and have cut all non-functional and less functional spaces and have since cut into some functional space. There is no more to cut without sacrificing the overall Police & Fire functions and mission.

Some of the design decisions made to address the concerns raised and reduce cost are:

  • Police Carport and Garage have been designated as Add/Alternates, allowing the committee to evaluate costs of these items at the time of
    bid. They would only be accepted if they can be incorporated within the allowable budget.
  • Meeting/Training/EOC room has been eliminated to provide for a 12-person shared PF/FD conference room and Emergency Operations
  • Parking, Site lighting, site drainage and supporting infrastructure reductions
  • Dispatch Room has been eliminated and the head-end Technology room reduced by half the size.
  • Public Toilet rooms in the lobby have been removed reducing the State requirements for Public Water Supply Well.
  • Reductions in the Toilet rooms and meeting rooms has decreased the required size of the Septic Systems.
  • Three dedicated bunk room spaces have been eliminated.
  • The lobby was reconfigured accordingly and as public spaces were reduced in the building as the large training/conference room was eliminated, public rest rooms were eliminated.
  • The new apparatus bay was extended to make room for a handicapped accessible ramp to access the bay from the higher floor of the addition when the USDA loan program became an attractive option. The cost of the required extension is more than made up for in interest savings over the loan period.
  • A detention area storage room and space for a potential future third cell was eliminated.
Why are we not just building a police station?
In 2017 the Select Board created a Public Safety Building Research Committee tasked to look into a Public Safety Building. Generally accepted understanding of a Public Safety Building is that it includes Police, Fire, Ambulance and Emergency Management Service. The May 2018 Town Meeting approved a design concept that included the four departments built next to the existing Fire Station.

The Select Board took the opportunity in 2017 to task the Public Safety Building Research Committee with looking at both facilities. The Fire station is equally as old and does not support the needs of current firefighter operations. The septic system is out of date. The building lacks basic energy features leading to increased operational costs. The building lacks indoor air quality and basic separation of clean and dirty spaces exposing our volunteers to cancer causing known carcinogens. The opportunity to address these and many other issues in a single project is financially advantageous in the long term versus a separate contract to address the Fire Station at a later date. Bundling the work together minimizes disruption, increase bid/buying power and ensure that both facilities will be up to date for many years.

By combining the projects, there is a long term financial benefit to the Town as systems can be combined instead of duplicated and the use of the site maximized for future town needs such as the Department of Public Works and potentially future town offices.

Why not renovate another building in town to meet PD needs?
The Committee and the design team looked at several other facilities. Bringing a non “Essential Facility” up to the rigorous standards is much more work than one may anticipate. Today’s Fire and Police Facilities are designed and constructed to be the last building standing in the event of a natural disaster from structural integrity to back up generators these facilities often serve as shelters. While Ashby is not currently intending this building will be a shelter it will operate as the primary response center for any situation that may arise in Town.

Police facilities are highly specialized buildings with specific code requirements for issues such as seismic activity and security. While there are no suitable buildings currently on the market and available for consideration, both this committee and previous committees have inquired about the costs of adapting existing buildings for Police use. When considering the cost of renovation on top of the cost of acquisition, it is financially advantageous to purpose build a new building on town owned land.

Does connecting it to the fire station increase costs?
The work of connecting the two facilities is minor in nature. It is limited to some Mechanical and Electrical connections, and a few doors and walkways. The fire station remains largely unchanged.

Since the site is one town owned parcel, constructing a separate building on the same site still triggers certain code updates in the fire station unless the parcel is legally divided into separate lots of record. A combined and adjacent facility allows for common systems for fire suppression, water and septic, electrical and communications equipment, and the cost avoidance of not having to legally split the site into separate parcels should a police only facility be constructed on the same site. These savings outweigh the cost of separate projects in the long term to the Town and preserves the rest of the parcel for future Town development for other needs such as a new Department of Public Works facility.

Can this be built using a phased approach? How quickly do all areas need to be occupied/used?
Constructing the main structure of the building in phases is not practical. However, items such as the garage, are presented as an “Add Alternate” and can be added at a later date should the Town decide to do so. Furnishing or fitting out some of the spaces can be phased.

The Committee continues to evaluate these and many other factors as the design evolves, remembering this is not an overnight process but an iterative process where each new scheme builds off the other. The Committee is investigating “early phase” scopes of work along with “deferred” scope that can be fit out later.

Why can’t we use either a metal building on a concrete slab or a modular design?
The project team has experience with these project types in other facility uses such as modular classroom, Storage Facilities and DPW barns and garages. While we understand there is much information available regarding these options the low cost normally advertised is just not a reality when looking at “essential facility” standard.

The list of upgrades and modifications is such that the total cost after upgrades does not represent a good value for the taxpayers, given the shorter life cycle typical of these buildings. Pre-Engineered Metal Building Systems (PMBS) are best to capture large, taller volumes of column free space but that is not the correct application for this type building. The architect has done many Public Safety facilities where the apparatus bays are PMBS but the remaining building is conventional frame, Ashburnham is an example.

  • PMBS exteriors have a lower life cycle.
    • Pre-engineered Metal Building System (PMBS) building relies on a
      protective painted metal exterior finish which is not as durable and fades over time.
    • The metal insulated panels have a thin 26 to 24 gauge metal cladding that is easily damaged.
    • The quality of the metal windows that are part of the PMBS are also of less expensive variety & quality.
  • Metal roofing will easily slide snow and requires additional snow guards or rails.
  • It is also necessary to add perimeter wood or metal studs to obtain interior GWB finish in most areas.
  • All the same interior construction & systems are still required, so any savings is just the differential cost of the exterior above ground envelope.

For our building, there would have been no cost savings to change the construction type of just (2) bays to PMBS. We would have been inserting another construction type, possibly another subcontractor, and varying levels of additional detailed construction to connect two different structural elements. Also the new apparatus bays did not need to be column free so conventional wood framing was as economical as steel framing.

What has been cut to reduce costs from the $7.2 million presented at the last Town Meeting?
  • Parking, Site lighting, site drainage and supporting infrastructure reductions
  • The radio tower and communication systems will be funded by the Community Host Agreement monies.
  • Public Toilet rooms in the lobby have been removed reducing the State requirements for Public Water Supply Well.
  • Reductions in the Toilet rooms and meeting rooms has decreased the required size of the Septic System. This reduces the cost of anticipated site development work.
  • While not a guarantee, bid packages on several other projects being handled by the OPM and Architect have been coming in under the projected cost, indicating that this is an advantageous time to bid and construct this type of project.

When was the committee formed and what is their charge?
In June 2017, the Public Safety Building Research Committee was appointed with the task of gathering information about a new Public Safety Building. The plan at that time was to hopefully present a warrant article for the next Annual Town Meeting.

In May of 2018, at the Annual Town Meeting, the Committee presented information and asked the voters for $540K for Design and Construction Documents for an addition to the existing Fire Station. The voters approved the expenditure of $540K at the Annual Town Meeting and approved the expenditure at a subsequent 2-1/2 override ballot.

With those approvals, the Committee was renamed The Public Safety Building Committee and began the process by interviewing and selecting an Owners Project Manager (OPM) as required
by MA General Law. Then the Committee interviewed and selected an Architectural firm to begin the programming and design process. The design process began with the drawings shown to the voters at the May 2018 Annual Town Meeting.

What other designs were considered during the planning process?
  • 03/2008 Study programmed square footage (sf) was 16,110 and included no additional Fire Department space. In 2008 estimated costs was $4.64M. In 2021 dollars this would equal approximately $8M
  • 12/2017 Study program 15,430 sf and Total project cost of $7.24M (2018 bid date)
  • 2019 Steel structures/modular buildings were considered where a partial build could be done off site, but many would not meet the necessary regulations required by the State.
    Sponsorship by construction companies and local philanthropists were also explored but there was no interest shown
  • 10/2019 Program 18,450 sf and Total project cost of $11.3M
  • 01/2020 Program 16,081 sf and Total project cost of $9.6M
  • 06/2020 Program reduced to 15,198, total projected cost $7.9M
  • 07/2020 Construction and Soft-cost reductions, total projected cost $7.6M
  • 08/2020 Continued value engineering design process, total projected cost $7,268,300
Why do we need a new police station?
The current Police Station is a modular classroom set in place in 1972. It was repurposed as a Police Station in 1996-97. It was never intended for its current use.

The Police station today occupies approximately 2,912 sf which is comprised of the existing station, a Conex trailer and records and archives in Town Hall. The existing facility lacks proper police, detainee, and public separation. The existing facility is nearly uninhabitable and beyond any level of economic repair for beneficial use.

The proposed facility will have improved safety and security with a sallyport, prisoner processing (booking) and cells (2), evidence processing and storage areas that comply with state regulations and guidelines. Collectively the new Police Department design will occupy
5,135 sf of dedicated space, or 4,356 sf if Police garage alternate is not constructed.

Why do we need a Public Safety building that includes expansion of the Fire department/EMS service rather than just a new Police station?
Currently, the fire station is deficient in several safety codes, including but not limited to:

  • Fire apparatus including a E3 (forestry truck) is stored outside in an unheated building all year requiring the water to be drained in the winter to prevent freezing. Light plant, pickup truck, emergency equipment trailers, and other apparatus are frequently stored
  • Backup ambulance stored in inadequate conditions does not comply OEMS requirements.
  • Large amounts of equipment and supplies are stored in areas such as the shower, boiler room, apparatus bays, training room, outside buildings and sheds.
  • Improper storage for EMS medical supplies.
  • No vehicle exhaust extraction system exposes Fire and EMS personnel and turnout gear to cancer causing carcinogens.
  • Inadequate office space, EMS and Fire Prevention office is in the same room as all other station functions with no space for secure record storage.
  • Inadequate bathroom facilities. The Septic system is extremely outdated and does not pass title 5. Water supply Well does not provide potable water, sand and rust comes out of the well consistently.
  • Building Envelope is non-compliant and incapable of keeping wind and rain out of the building. Fire alarm system is not up to code. No Fire sprinkler system in the fire station.
  • Radio tower is past its useful life span and has been temporarily repaired with guy wires. Tower is too short to provide adequate height for communications antennas.

The Fire Station remains unchanged in its square footage of 4,282 sf. To accommodate best practice in Fire Station Design, spaces will be repurposed to create separation of “clean”, “contaminated”, and public use spaces. The project will address the existing facility concerns
while providing new spaces for offices and an Emergency Operations Center.

Is a facility of that size required?
The combined facility will be approximately 14,000sf. The existing fire is 4280sf and the addition is 9720sf.

  • The Fire Departments proposed new space is 2,524 sf. and is comprised of 2 new ambulance and engine bays, administration and support spaces, and a Fire Prevention office.
  • Collectively the new Police Department design will occupy 5,135 sf of dedicated space, or 4,356 sf if Police garage alternate is not constructed.
  • There are 2,011 sf of Shared use spaces, corridors, mechanical and electrical rooms, toilets, a 12-person shared meeting space and emergency operations center (EOC), support spaces and structure.
What are the state regulations that are factors in the cost?
From Building Codes to Department of Health and Dept. of Environmental Protection standards there are a tremendous number of requirements and regulations that need to be adhered to. From building fire sprinklers to vehicle exhaust systems. The Architect and OPM work through a myriad of requirements to analyze long-term value against initial cost exposure It is this type of in-depth review that affords the committee the best knowledge in making building decision or recommendations.

The prevailing wage requirement for the State of Massachusetts also has a very significant impact to the overall cost of a public building project of this kind. The single highest cost line item of the project is the building code required fire suppression system including underground water tanks.

The septic solution was listed at ~$2 million - why is the cost so high?
The “septic” solution was not $2M on its own. The site however had considerable costs associated with it based on the public nature of the facility. Most often today’s police and fire station are designed to be more open and accommodating to the public. Whether hosting public events, community policing programs, or public information meetings these types of uses require more site development in the water, septic, parking, lighting, etc. The Committees directions to limit the facility uses to that of the departments official business means that many of these costs have been reduced as described above.

Several design changes have been made to minimize site development costs. The building has been raised by 14 inches and repositioned relative to the existing fire station structure to minimize site development costs due to a high existing water table.

If the selected site is so expensive, what other sites have been considered and why have they not been selected?
During the previous study performed in 2008, a rather exhaustive search for the best possible site was conducted. The site where the 873 building was eventually built was considered, as was a land lease arrangement on a portion of that site. The former Ashby Oil site was also considered both as a site and as a repurpose of the existing building. Neither site offered cost savings as these were not Town owned and each had challenges from a building flow and traffic perspective making them less attractive than the Town owned parcel adjacent to the fire station.
What other factors are impacting the overall cost besides square footage and site selection?
As a public, municipally funded project in the Commonwealth this project is subject to several statutory requirements that lead to increased cost that many other states do not have to contend with. Owner’s Project Manager is a requirement under MGL Chapter 149 for any project greater than $1.5M dollars. Average cost for OPM services range from 3-5% of the project value they are engaged early for design and budget management, manage the state bidding and procurement process and provide clerk of the works during construction. Chapter 7c stipulates the requirement of Designer Selection and Architectural services. It sets out a process for a “qualification-based selection” that does not allow for comparison of fee among competing firms. Firms are identified through and “Request for Qualification” process and only once the firm has been selected can the awarding authority enter into fee negotiations.

Chapter 149 stipulates that only contractors and subcontractors certified by the State’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) can bid on the work. This limits competition, eliminates many smaller local firms. MGL c149 section 26-27 requires and enforces a strict “prevailing wage” or minimum wage that trade workers must be paid. As a matter of certification these firms are held to a higher standard of management practices and insurability which may lead to increased cost for the same work of another firm.

Provide a breakdown of the costs - more granular than site cost and building cost.
A more detailed cost breakdown is available on the Town Web Site on the PSBC page. Please note that this was the breakdown from the earlier design that included the public meeting room, and the latest design’s detailed cost breakdown is still in work. It will be posted upon completion, anticipated in later December.
The design does not appear to include green solutions. What considerations are there for offsetting future utility costs that would need to be considered as part of the operational cost and budget?
The design team is working with the Town Energy Conservation Committee in seeking grants and specifying mechanical and electrical equipment which maximizes long-term savings over initial furnish and install costs. A more comprehensive list will be developed and presented to the energy committee at an upcoming meeting.

The building design includes a “solar ready roof” design to support future photovoltaic panels with additional electrical infrastructure ready to use should the Town obtain a future solar grant. The site design includes a base location, concrete pad and electrical infrastructure for an electrical vehicle recharging station that would be ready to use should the Town receive a grant for an ERV station.

The project team has been engaged with Unitil, the local utility provider based on recent local experience this project will be eligible for incentives and rebates based on the energy model created for the project.

While neither of these groups can commit to a dollar amount at this time, we do know from experience that these funds would likely be approved and reduce the overall project costs.

What are the operational costs that you foresee?
As the design progresses the team will work with Unitil to develop an energy model to assess the Heating, cooling, and electrical load for the building. Due to the delays in moving beyond the design and development stage, this is not expected until December-January.

DPW will have responsibility to maintain the grounds of the facility as they do with other Town property. Every effort is being made to create plowing direction and snow storage areas, outside of the direct building area low-grow/no-mow grass seeds can be utilized to reduce maintenance costs.

What considerations are being planned to offset future operational costs? For example, cleaning, utility (electricity, heating, cooling costs).
The new addition is being built as energy efficient as possible within current budget considerations. The building will be well insulated with energy recovery features to the HVAC systems including demand control ventilation and direct outdoor air supply. The HVAC system is a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system which allows greater control within individual areas or zones. All lighting to be energy efficient LED lighting on occupancy sensors and daylighting sensors in exterior windowed areas.
Why are there not more common spaces between FD and PD, such as bathrooms?
While there are a number of common spaces including restrooms, that both departments have agreed to, there are also secure spaces and required segregation of Police functions that must be maintained as separate areas with access restricted to Police personnel only for privacy of information and security.

Common and shared spaces include the Lobby, Conference Room/Emergency Operations Center, Interview Room (off Lobby), Day Rm/Kitchen, Mechanical & Electrical Rooms, Radio Room, Communications/Data Room, and Fire Pump Room.

Please note that addressing the needs of fire and police separately would require duplication of these spaces and a higher overall cost to the Town.

What square footage is being used now (total) and is what is being requested in this design?
Ashby PSB Gross square footage
Breakdown of Square Footage for Ashby PSB
Are two cells required - will one suffice? How often have we had need to handle multiple offenders on a yearly basis?
Two holding cells are necessary for the proper and efficient function of a police facility that will operate out of this building for the foreseeable future.

Statute requires separation by sight and sound of male and female detainees as well as minors from adult male or female prisoners. In the past, it was common that hold times in the station were limited and detainees would be transferred to the State Police relatively quickly. However, today with COVID 19 and changes to protocols, individuals are being held for longer periods in the local stations and the two cells provide the police department with the necessary flexibility to deal with the majority of situations that would be typical of a community like Ashby. It must also be noted, all persons in custody are processed through the Ashby Police station with the majority of these being released from this facility through the bail process.

There have been many instances where more than one person has been held in custody at the same time.  As with any criminal activity where individuals must be placed in custody, this cannot be predicted with any reliability.  A preliminary search of detention records since 2008 indicate approximately 35 instances where more than one detainee has been held in Ashby on a single day.

A second cell also provides for the ability for a cell to be decontaminated for any number of reasons whether due to contagions, damages caused by detainees or maintenance purposes.

What are other towns spending on similar facilities?
A list of similar recent facilities and studies is presented below. Note that costs listed are building costs, not total project costs.
Comparisons of other towns’ building costs
How much money has been authorized to date for the study?
A Town Vote in May 2018 authorized $540,000 to be used for the planning of a Public Safety Building for Ashby. In addition, the State granted $50,000 for planning. As of September 17, 2020, $467,500.00 has been contracted and of that, $289,300 has been paid or invoiced through the end of August 2020.
What is the estimated total cost for the project?
The current requested amount for project completion is $7,268,300.00. This figure includes the hard cost of construction, all furniture, fixtures, design, and engineering, and associated soft costs. This does not include the $540,000 mentioned above for plans. It also does not include interest on the short-term construction financing, estimated at $271,617.
What are other sources of funding that have been looked at to reduce the overall cost? (UPDATED)
It is important to note that no funding is guaranteed until the actual award has been made. However current prospective funding includes:

  • USDA loan for 40yrs @ 2.125%
  • State Bond bill where Ashby was earmarked for $6.0M dollars, however the funds have not yet been released, and may not be. We continue to work with State official to request release of any available funds, however we have been informed by our representatives that State funding for this project will not be considered until we have “shovel ready” plans in hand and the support of the community to proceed.
  • The project team and Committee will continue work with Unitil and the Town’s Energy Efficiency Committee to seek additional grants and rebates for building materials and equipment such as making the building solar ready.
What other sources are available to offset future costs?
A review of the annual budget is being looked at by the selectman to see if a portion of the debt payment may be able to be supported by the budget.
Has the Committee explored modular construction to reduce costs?
To assist with the question of why we are not pursuing modular construction we offer the following information & experience from our Architectural Firm:
“CBA has designed and has had good experience with modular buildings in residential design for Housing Authorities. Modular Buildings are most efficient when you have multiple buildings of the same design. In singular building/ facilities they are not as efficient because of the lack of repeated construction.”

“Our experience with modular buildings includes the design & bidding of the Warren MA Police Headquarters and the Holland MA Senior Center.”

“For the Warren Police building we consulted with the (3) largest modular builders in Central & Western MA, we were provided all the information, details, costs and assurances that our design would be bid within our budget. However, no modular builders bid on the project.”

“Modular builders prefer to work with the same construction materials & techniques they have standardized on, and commercial construction can be different. For instance, modular wood frame buildings typically do not require the additional seismic bracing that an “Essential Facility” like a Police or Fire Station requires by code. A modular salesman may say they can build anything but it will eventually come down to the profitability of doing a One-off/ One-of-a kind type project with significant changes to their normal building process.”

“Also be aware that modular buildings have integral wood floor framing and want to sit over a basement or crawlspace. Neither is feasible on this site. Because of this condition the Police Sallyport, the Fire Engine/ Ambulance bays and the Police garage would all be slab on grade with conventional frame construction. This would reduce any modular square footage and any possible cost impact. The Booking, Interrogation and Holding spaces are also slab on grade with concrete block construction for safety & durability which would further reduce any possible modular construction area.”

“The Holland Senior Center was similarly designed and bid as a modular building with basement & crawlspaces. When bids were received, the lower bids were not modular construction. Again, with a One-off/ one-of-a-kind type building design the modular builders were not competitive. However, the winning bid utilized a panelized construction technique in place of a fully modular approach, which is valid for the Ashby Public Safety Building.”

“Panelized or prefabricated floors & walls consists of transportable sections of wood joist floors or stud walls with plywood attached that are built off-site by a company similar to a prefabricated wood truss mfr. By building these components off-site, MA prevailing wage does not apply. The wood frame floors and wood framed walls are shipped to the site and can be installed very rapidly. We have used this construction technique on several projects including the Hamilton Public Safety Complex very successfully and have designed the Ashby Public Safety Complex with long consistent wall lines to facilitate this construction option for the contractor.”

What sources of funding are being pursued to help defray the cost?
It is important to note that no funding is guaranteed until the actual award has been made. Current prospective funding includes:

  • USDA loan for 40yrs @ 2.125%
  • FEMA grant up to $600,000
  • State Bond bill where Ashby was earmarked for $6.0M dollars, however the funds have not yet been released, and may not be. We continue to work with State official to request release of any available funds
  • The project team and Committee will continue work with Unitil and the Town’s Energy Efficiency Committee to seek additional grants and rebates for building materials and equipment such as making the building solar ready
What would be the average cost to the taxpayer?
Loan Amount Annual Cost to Town Annual Increase for Average Taxpayer Monthly Increase for Average Taxpayer Cost/$100,000 Valuation
$5,000,000 $187,620 $140 $11.67 $53.15
$6,000,000 $225,144 $168 $$14.00 63.78
$7,000,000 $262,668 $196 $16.33 $74.41
$7,268,300 $271,617 $200 $16.67 $77.27
What would be the cost to the taxpayer?
Assessed Value Annual Increase for Average Taxpayer Monthly Increase for Average Taxpayer
$100,000 $77.27 $6.44
$150,000 $115.91 $9.66
$200,000 $154.54 $12.88
$250,000 $193.18 $16.10
$300,000 $231.81 $19.32
$350,000 $270.45 $22.54
$400,000 $309.08 $25.76
$450,000 $347.72 $28.98
$500,000 $386.35 $32.20
$550,000 $424.99 $35.42
$600,000 $463.62 $38.64
Why would it hurt to wait on the project?
In addition to the urgency to relocate the Police department to safer and more appropriate quarters, the industry standard for estimated “escalation” costs are about 6% per year. Based on $7.2m that would cause an increase of $432,000 per year. This is evident by the cost increase from the Committee’s work back in 2008.

The Town is exposed to liability issues for staff, visitors, and detainees as indicated above. Lack of appropriate spaces and environmental conditions subject employees and equipment to improper conditions. Building Codes and OSHA requirements continually change, and the Town should be addressing those items.

Will the entire amount need to be paid with additional taxes or can some of the cost come<br /> from current budgets?
Ashby’s annual budget is balanced with multiple revenue sources including taxes. With some creative restructuring we may be able to apply up to $40,000 annually towards the cost of the public safety building debt service. The remainder of the debt service would come from a 2.5 debt vote authorization.
Are there any items currently included in our taxes that will be paid off in the next few years lowering our taxes?
Ashby’s outstanding debt service charges relate primarily to school projects. The Hawthorne Brook/Squannacook septic project will be paid off in 2024. The North Middlesex Regional High
School debt service will continue for approximately 25 years.
Are there any unbudgeted capital expenses or need for overrides anticipated in the next few<br /> years?
There are capital expenses, foreseen and unforeseen, which are integrated into the annual budgets as needed (and as possible within existing revenue resources). There are no 2 1⁄2 overrides being discussed for the near future.
Has the Project team developed operating costs for the new facility?
Working with the design team we have considered this. In developing the energy usage models with Unitil we will have much better calculation when the mechanical and electrical engineering is far enough along. We anticipate having this information available in December or January time frame.

Public Safety Concept, Design, and Additional Information:

Information on the overall concept, design, and insights are as follows (as of October 2020):

Public Safety Building Committee Purpose

The Public Safety Building Committee, acting through the Board of Selectmen, is responsible for the selection and oversight of design and construction professionals as required under the laws of the Commonwealth, to study, design, bid, and construct a combined public safety facility at the existing Fire Station site. The PSBC shall be subject to future approvals and funding at the direction of the select board as is customary. The PSBC shall be subject to all open meeting law requirements and operate under the laws of the Commonwealth and the Town’s by-laws.

Owners Project Manager

In accordance with the Chapter 149 Section 44A1/2 of MGL the Town was required to retain the services of a professional Owner’s Project Manager. The PSBC, acting through the BoS, solicited publicly, received and reviewed qualifications, conducted interviews and negotiated OPM services with Collier’s Int. Collier’s presented its staff with Anthony DiLuzio, as its Senior Project Manager. Anthony is certified under the Mass Certified Public Procurement Office and has more than 25 years of experience managing the design and construction of Police, Fire and combined Public Safety Facilities. The OPM will be responsible for developing costs, schedules, quality requirements for the project from it’s inception through final construction and occupancy.

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