Mattapoisett’s New Fire Station Planning Continues

            On March 19 there was some good news coming out of at least one committee in Mattapoisett – the Fire Station Building Committee.

            Chaired by Mike Hickey, the committee was the first volunteer group to attempt virtual meetings via telephone conferencing. It went smoothly once everyone calling in found the mute button. Once the ambient noise was canceled, the committee met to discuss subcontract bids associated with the $9.275 million new fire station planned for County Road next to the police station.

            For municipal projects, Massachusetts allows 13 subcontract trades such as electrical, HVAC, plumbing and painting to submit their own bids for their respective areas rather than require their containment in the general contracting bid. Hickey said that the process could mean that a general contractor might select the lowest subcontracting bids for a given trade or that the subcontractor might elect to not work with a contractor. “Only in Massachusetts,” Hickey demurred.

            Helping to navigate these issues and others is the firm Vertex, a construction management company. Also on the call were architects Jeff Shaw and Chris Logan of Context. Mattapoisett’s committee was represented by Hickey, Fire Chief Andrew Murray, Director of Inspectional Services Andy Bobola, Selectman Jordan Collyer, Town Administrator Mike Lorenco, and consultant Mike Gagne.

            The group noted that subcontract bidding was coming in under budget by approximately $200,000. Hickey said if that sum held, it could be moved to contingency funding. There was further discussion regarding which subcontractors would work best not only with the selected general contractor but also which subcontractor would give the town its best effort. Those companies would be studied, Hickey said.

            The next step, according to Hickey, would be to “drill down” through the documents received by the subcontractors. He said that in two weeks they would have the general contracting bids for review and consideration.

            Directly impacted by the construction of a new fire station on property adjacent to the police station is the electrical service to that building. Hickey said that work would proceed on that project prior to commencement of the fire station groundbreaking. Gagne confirmed that the town administrator had the authority to authorize that work now.

            The committee also discussed Route 6 traffic lights and traffic controls. Gagne said that since the group last met the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) had requested additional studies and existing condition layouts for the state highway. He cautioned everyone that given the uncertainty created by COVID-19, transportation bond bills could be negatively impacted due to a slump in earnings. But Hickey said planning would continue. MassDOT’s request would be addressed with Hickey saying, “We’ll just have to ride this out.” The state agency also requested additional details on proposed curb-cuts that G.A.F. Engineering would respond to, Hickey said.

            Concerns over the type of materials to be used for the fire station aprons were also discussed. Murray reminded the teams that during the value engineering process the aprons were not included due to the importance of durability. Murray pointed out that fire apparatus was extremely heavy, thus the aprons needed to have specific mechanical properties and sub-surface structures. Hickey assured Murray that would be the case.

            Hickey said in a follow-up that they hope to have shovels in the ground by May. The next meeting of the Fire Station Building Committee was not scheduled but is expected to be held in the next two weeks.

By Marilou Newell

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