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Committee to interview firms for police station feasibility study

Date: 7/16/2014

WILBRAHAM – The Police Station Feasibility Study Committee began the process of selecting a firm to perform a study on the construction of a new home for the Police Department and set up a tentative schedule for the remainder of the process.

On July 14, the committee reviewed seven of the 11 responses to a request for qualifications (RFQ) it received and will complete the evaluation on July 17 at 8 a.m. in hopes of having two or three finalists in for interviews the following week.

“After we finish the review, we’ll attempt to make contact with who we’ve come up with and schedule [interviews] accordingly,” Roger Fontaine, chair of the committee, said.

The committee’s goal is to present a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen at the end of the month.

“We are tentatively on the [Board of Selectmen’s] agenda for July 28,” Police Chief Roger Tucker said.

Meetings were also tentatively scheduled for July 23 and 25 to conduct interviews with the finalists.

The review process involved utilizing a weighted grading system for each of the RFQs based on nine criteria – past performance, knowledge of Massachusetts building codes, understanding of state construction laws, the firm’s management approach, key personnel, capacity and skills, the firm’s workload versus its staffing levels, its cost analysis of the study and financial stability.

Among the proposals reviewed was one from Tecton Architects in Hartford, Connecticut, the firm chosen to oversee the recent fire station renovation project.

Fire Chief Francis Nothe and Fire Commissioner Edward Rigney, both members of the committee, spoke highly of their experiences with Tecton, specifically with regard to the amount of attention their project was given and the company’s focus on staying within budget.

“Their principal, Jeff [McElravy] is just aces in my sight. Jeff was here once a week, if not more,” Nothe said. “They set up tight constraints financially and were able to keep our change orders down.

“Jeff has designed police stations from Virginia to New England, so experience is not an issue here,” he added.

Rigney said with 61 employees, including 14 architects, there would not be an issue with attentiveness. When McElravy wasn’t available during the fire station construction, a knowledgeable replacement filled in. To Nothe’s point about change orders, he noted that the company’s design was so solid that even when adjustments had to be made, they stayed within the scope of the project.

He also pointed out that with Tecton’s help, the town was able to secure approximately $20,000 in rebates.

Among those not receiving positive grades was CDR MaGuire of Doral, Florida.

Rigney noted that the company was an extremely large firm and it appeared that many of the informational resources in their RFQ were “stock pages.”

Nothe commented, “If they couldn’t waste their time on the RFQ, I don’t see why we should waste ours reviewing it.”

Tucker added that they disclosed in the RFQ a 2011 bankruptcy reorganization, which did not reflect well on their stability.