Natural History Museum Project Re-evaluated

The Marion Board of Selectmen voted to give Town Administrator Paul Dawson $3,500 for the architect in charge of drafting the plans for the Marion Natural History Museum repair project. The decision was made at the Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, January 22 in the Marion Town House.

According to Dawson, when the project originally went out to bid a few months ago, the winning bid did not include the costs for carpeting installation labor and materials, which made it $60,000 cheaper than the other submitted bid. The other bid was extremely higher than the original estimate given by architects from Van Voorhis.

“There was never a full-blown construction cost estimate,” said Dawson. “It was a ballpark.”

The project will go out for bidding once again. However, this time Van Voorhis will conduct a more comprehensive analysis of how much an appropriate bid would be with all of the construction costs taken into consideration. Selectman Jonathan Henry considered that this new analysis could raise the estimate significantly.

In a document submitted to the Board, Van Voorhis stated that his original estimate could be doubled or tripled after it is re-evaluated. Dawson assured the Board that the increase in numbers wouldn’t be nearly as steep as it sounds.

“The only thing I expect to see different is labor and materials for carpeting,” he said.

“Then that’s an unfortunate choice of language,” said Henry with regards to the Van Voorhis report.

Included in the new evaluation would be the cost to replace the lights inside of the museum, an item that was previously overlooked but could potentially be very necessary. Once the new figure is drafted, it will go to the Selectmen for review and feedback before it goes out to bid again.

“We can’t stop at this point here,” said Selectman Stephen Cushing.

In other news, Dawson informed the Selectmen that the Marion Music Hall lighting project is well underway. All of the exterior work is complete, with the exception of some cement pouring, which will be completed when weather permits. Inside, the circuit work needs to be finished. The new lighting fixtures will arrive sometime in February and will be installed once the circuit work is finished.

Another project that is in progress is the mold remediation process for the Town House basement. Dawson commended Conservation Commissioner Norm Hills for his help in organizing and relocating items in the basement to a new location so the mold removal can be underway in the near future.

Upon working in the basement, however, Dawson said they uncovered a water leak that is attributed to window infiltration. According to Dawson, he believed the water only leaks in when there is a Southwest wind blowing.

The Marion Board of Selectmen will meet again on Tuesday, February 5 at 7:00 pm in the Town House.

By Katy Fitzpatrick

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