2018-03-30 / Community

Board selects rec hall builder

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — Selectmen have chosen the company that will build a new home for Kennebunkport’s recreation department, unanimously selecting Risbara Brothers Construction of Scarborough from among seven bidders for the work, at their March 22 meeting.

Risbara asked for $751,000 to put up the single-story, 3,000-square-foot structure, to be located in Parson’s Field, at 25 School Street. The new building will replace a 30-year-old mobile unit that has been the department’s home since 2002.

Risbara was actually underbid by one firm, DiMatteo Construction of South Portland, which asked for $729,500. However, Town Manager Laurie Smith and Recrecation Director Carol Cook urged selectmen to pick Risbara after checking references for both companies.

Risbara, Smith said, seemed to have more experience with projects of the scope and size the town has in mind, with fewer jobs already on its docket.

“Although that is about $20,000 more, we believe that we will be able to value engineer savings with Risbara Brothers. We are looking at the long-term quality of the project as well as trying to minimize any potential change orders or scheduling issues,” Smith said.

Voters at the June 2017 annual town meeting agreed to borrow $450,000 and commit another $250,000 from reserves to pay for the work.

However, because the bids all eclipsed what had been set aside, and to make sure there is contingency money on hand in case anything does go awry, selectmen agreed at their March 15 session to call for a special town meeting on Thursday, March 29, at which they would ask voter permission to transfer $200,000 from the town’s capital reserve fund.

That meeting took place after that deadline for this week’s Post.

According to Smith, the reserve account currently has an uncommitted balance of $536,893.

In addition to a unanimous nod from selectmen March 15, the town’s budget board also voted unanimously at that session, 8-0, to recommend the transfer.

Selectmen did not say at either their March 15 or March 22 meetings whether they would authorize Risbara to go ahead with any of four “add-ons” to the base bid for constructing the building. Those extras included:

 Adding kitchen cabinets and additional storage space — for which Risbara had bid $14,200,

 Installing keypad entry locks — adding $2,100,

 Paving and striping the nine-space parking lot — at a cost of $14,500, and,

 Installing an emergency generator and underground propane tanks — for $22,000.

However, Smith promised she would be frugal with the added funds, if approved by the town.

“My goal would be to certainly not spend that (entire) $200,000.”

Selectmen also pointed out March 22 that the project will go forward, and the contract with Risbara signed, only if voters approve the extra funding.

Still, Cook has said the time has come to replace the old rec hall.

“Anyone who’s been here knows we have never gone after anything of this magnitude,” she said. March 15. “The process has been very exciting. The numbers not so much. So, what we’re looking at is a building that has just what we need to take the recreation department into the future.

“It’s also probably what we needed 15 years ago, but didn’t have,” Cook said. “But it’s a building that suits our needs. It’s not an extravagance.”

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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