By JEN CARDINES
Snow is melting, temperatures are rising, and soon the first shovel will pierce any remaining frost as workers get ready to break ground on the Calendar House Senior Center. The Town Council unanimously voted in favor of five bid packages to start the construction of the new facility during their Feb. 27 meeting.
“This gives us the green light to start,” councilor Paul Champagne said after the votes took place. Champagne is also the Calendar House Building Committee chair.
Of the 27 trade packages that went out to bid, Town Attorney Mark Sciota presented the first five to the Council, saying they were the most important to begin the project. The packages involved site work, drywall and carpentry, electrical, concrete, and steel/ metal.
The Council approved the site work recommendation to Tobacco & Son Builders of Bristol for $1,052,000. Drywall and carpentry was awarded to A & A Drywall and Acoustics from Milford for $996,800. MT Ford Industries of Somers was awarded the concrete bid for $282,000 and A & S Electrical Services from Durham received the electrical bid for $550,000.
The steel and miscellaneous metals proposal was approved for $296,780 with XTX Associates in Glastonbury.
During the vote, Councilor Dawn Miceli said that she was disappointed to see no Southington businesses in the package. Only the electrical package garnered a town bidder, she said.
“It’s nothing that we’re doing,” she said. “I just know that we have companies in town, some of whom could’ve handled these projects, and I hope that in the future they’ll come forward.”
Sciota answered Miceli and said, “It’s not official, but you will have Southington bidders win a few packages as we keep moving on.”
Work is expected to begin by the end of March, after site preparation is completed. The Board of Education has been working with the committee to address the anticipated traffic issue outside of DePaolo Middle School during peak hours.
“This is not really a simple issue,” Superintendent Tim Connellan said to the BOE during their last meeting. “Traffic there has been a problem for years.”
Connellan, assistant superintendent Steven Madancy, and DePaolo administrators met to evaluate the traffic concerns.
They discovered that roughly 230 DePaolo students are categorized as walkers, as opposed to the 60 to 70 walkers at Kennedy Middle School.
“We have a lot of cars and a lot of parent drop-offs,” Connellan said. “On occasion we’ve had 270 cars. That’s a lot of traffic.”
With its location directly across the street, many parents pull into the Calendar House lot from Hobart Street to drop off their children, but once construction begins that will no longer be an option.
BOE members are encouraging families to carpool and allow their children to walk on nice days to limit the number of cars passing through the area.
Champagne said that proposed plans for parking and drop-off will be announced soon.
To learn more about the project, visit the next Calendar House Building Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 22 at the Calendar House, 388 Pleasant St.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., and the public is welcome to attend.