Thank you for your efforts in publicizing the efforts to create a new facility for the DPW. I have some observations and comments on the article:"The Northbridge DPW Chief Lays Out Plan To Seniors".
The Roger Mathieu proposed citizens warrant article proposes an allocated cost of $1.8 million for a DPW building on EITHER the Fletcher Street Site OR the site at the wastewater treatment plant on Providence Road. We have established, with a detailed design, that a pre-engineered modular building that meets the needs of the DPW could be built on either site for a total cost of $1.8 million. The purpose of the warrant article is to see if the taxpayers will support this amount of money for a DPW garage.
The HKT proposal on Fletcher Street fails to address the issue of the costs that are associated with site clean up relating to the toxic soil conditions. Certainly this is the first cost question that must be answered BEFORE any funds are spent on locating a building on that site. After all, this is the standard PROCESS that is used in the industry as an integral part of site selection, and yet it has NOT been used in the initial building design process for Fletcher Street. However, our design fits on the Fletcher Street Site.
The proposed new location of our design on the WWTP is out of the so called turtle area, so it does not need to use the approval that we have received from Natural Heritage. The building is also located so that we can continue to use the existing entry road, which permits us to eliminate the need for building a new site entrance to the WWTP. Therefore, these Railroad crossing costs and the new driveway can be eliminated from our estimated overall costs.
However, the town presently has a railroad crossing that is not properly signaled for vehicle crossing. This is a hazard that is not being addressed. To leave it as it is certainly exposes the Town to litigation in the event of an accident. It would seem that someone, with concerns for the town's liability, should be interested in addressing this problem even if a new DPW building is not considered for this site.
You credit Mr. Shuris with claiming that some of our ideas are being used for his design of the Douglas road site. Nothing could really be further from the truth.
Mr. Shuris went to great lengths in the HKT design to insure that a 3' high perimeter wall was constructed so that trucks could not damage the building by accidentally backing up into it. This type of problem is real because a sanding truck in the existing DPW garage backed through the garage wall creating a large hole. Vehicle behavior in a garage is always a concern.
The HKT design on Fletcher street had 10 vehicle access doors in the garage. Our revised design (for either site) has 10 vehicle doors, but the Douglas road building only has six potential access doors. The 10 doors permit the vehicles to be parked with direct access to a door, but the reduced number of doors requires vehicles to be parked in locations that require turning to get in and out. In addition, the Douglas road building has interior columns, so that trucks must maneuver around them for proper parking.
If a truck should hit one of these structural columns there is a good chance that the building will come down. The situation at Douglas Road lacks the barriers to protect the walls in the back and protecting the various interior columns will certainly take away a lot of valuable parking space. These are problems that led the previous BPCC to reject this opportunity. Therefore, we agree with the previous BPCC report that stated that this building was not a good choice for a DPW facility. Certainly there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.
Our design was prepared in detail so that we could obtain reasonable estimates that are needed to set a proper budget. Our Warrant Article sets a reasonable cost for overall construction. The plans that we have used to secure our pricing will not be used to construct this project, and the RFP that was modeled on the AG's advice is also no longer available for use.
If this warrant article passes the BPCC will have a reasonable overall cost (soft and hard) for the building that was approved by the voters. This would permit the committee to proceed with design and contracting as long as the design and construction costs were within the $1.8 million dollar allocation.
Neal B. Mitchell, Jr. P.E.
1041 Sutton Street
Northbridge, MA 01534