As the Ellington Senior Center project continues moving forward, it has hit a bit of stumbling block in that the bids for a contractor came in over budget.
According to Permanent Building Committee Chairman Peter Welti, the committee has been working with the three lowest bidders to do value engineering to try to bring the budget in line with the project scope.
There have been several meetings with all the involved groups and ideas are being taken on different things that can be done to try to bring the project within the scope of the budget.
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“We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer,” Welti said.
Welti said that there are three options, but that they have to happen in order. The first is to try to get it within scope – what they’re working on now. The second is to try to get more funding – either through grants, donations, or potentially back thought the town process. If those options fail, Welti said they would need to scale down the project – meaning a little bit smaller building.
“It’s no different than somebody personally building a house and the builder comes to them and it’s over their budget – they’ve got decisions to make,” he said. “Build a smaller house or build a house without as many amenities.”
Welti said that the first goal is to do it as it was drawn and to make enough significant changes within the bid documents and the plan that the budget could match the drawings. While they are not quite there, with every discussion and creative idea, it’s getting closer.
“Of course, we want to do that without in any way compromising the usage of the building and the benefit to the seniors,” he said.
According to Welti, he is optimistic that within a few weeks it will be known if step one is going to work.
“If step one works, we’re off and running,” he said. “If four weeks from now we can’t get there, then we have to look at options two or three. We’re not really considering options two and three until we exhaust everything within option one.”
The plan was to break ground on the project in November, but this obviously sets it back. According to Welti, ground now won’t be broken until the spring.