FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday night, March 26, approved using $20,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for a construction service agreement to determine cost and scope of repairs for the Community Center roof.

In February 2022, selectmen approved using ARPA funds that had not been committed, about $700,000 for roof repairs. In October 2023, two bids for the work were rejected, the second time bids were requested for the project. Bowman Brothers Construction of Newport bid $2.46 million both times. Devoe Construction from Eagle Lake was the second bidder at $2.489 million. The similarities in the bids was questioned and seeking other bids was approved.

Last month, Matt Foster, director of Parks and Recreation, told the board a company had estimated it would cost $1.7 million to replace the roof, what it called “the mile high fly over price.” It also gave a price of $900,000 to build a new roof over the existing one, but the plan hadn’t been cleared by engineers, he noted.

Since December, Foster has been working with Thaddeus Gabryszewski, vice president of Lincoln/Haney Engineering Associates in Brunswick.

Town Manager Erica LaCroix said company names shouldn’t be discussed yet, but theoretical numbers should be so the board could move forward with an opinion on next steps. “I think the numbers are very important at this point,” she stated.

The company that estimated $1.7 million to replace the roof noted taking the entire roof off carries a lot of risk, Foster said. “If there is a lot of rain, it’s just too much hazard for it being open,” he stated. “Could in theory have to rebuild the entire Community Center if it was damaged enough through rain.”


The company is a general contractor, capable of doing a lot, Foster said. They offered a second option of installing a roof over the existing one for about $900,000 plus or minus 20%, he stated. There are also issues with the heating system and brick work being damaged from chimney problems at the center, he noted.

Foster and Gabryszewski asked the company if the other issues could also be addressed at the same time and the company indicated they could be incorporated. “I think we can accomplish pretty much all of our problems, the significant ones anyway, for around $1.2 million with the plus or minus 20%,” Foster said.

Bonding should be possible to fund the project above the ARPA funds available, he noted. The new plan will need different engineering plans to make sure it all goes properly, a construction service agreement could help with that, he said.

That agreement uses a construction management approach where the owner hires a contractor before the drawings are completely done and they work together with the design firm to troubleshoot, Gabryszewski stated. “Between the design firm and the contractor working together you can get a pretty good idea of a very good path forward, a very cost effective path forward,” he said. Design build hits the known target, construction management works with the contractor to develop solutions for other issues too, he noted.

“There is an upfront cost for services to do this, but in my experience on actual projects the construction management model results in a better product, better budgets,” Gabryszewski said. The contractor has skin in the game, for some owners it is the preferred method, he noted. He estimated $5,000 to $10,000 for his company’s work, another $10,000 for the construction firm.

“We should look at the whole project,” Selectman Dennis O’Neil. The roof issue has been kicked around for years, needs to be addressed, he noted. “It’s a no brainer to pursue this path,” he added.


Selectman Richard Morton asked about the time frame and if other companies had been approached.

Work would start as soon as funding is approved, Gabryszewski replied. Several companies have been approached, some looked at it twice and declined, only one suggested construction management, he noted.

By bundling the work together money could potentially be saved through doing more work at the same time, Foster said. With big problems such as those at the Community Center it is better financially, he noted.

“The process works better,” Gabryszewski said. “This will be a significant upgrade to what you have now.”

The town is not required to bid over and over again on the same project, LaCroix noted. Bidders have the ability to offer alternatives, none have done that, she said.

LaCroix knows the company which is “is honest and forthright”, has no allegiance to it. Costs will continue to rise the longer the town waits, she noted.

“I will be able to sleep at night,” Foster stressed. As director, he is not comfortable with the situation, had to work with his staff to clean off the roof multiple times during the snowstorm Saturday and Sunday morning.

It is a grave situation, Gabryszewski said. Things could happen, he added.

In other business Select Board officers were elected with Joshua Bell named chair, Matthew Smith vice chair and O’Neil secretary.

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