Senior Center expansion project moves forward

SOUTHWICK – Nearly 20 subcontractors and contractors attended a mandatory meeting yesterday at the Senior Center before offering bids on the expansion project.
Town Administrator Karl Stinehart gave a tour of the facility along with Erica Johnson of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) and My-Ron Hatchett of Reinhardt Associates.
The 1,800 square-foot addition will give the Center some much-needed space for fitness classes and other programs.
Senior Center Director Jeanne Margarites said yesterday she is excited the project is finally going forward.
“This is wonderful,” said Margarites. “We’ve been working on this for years.”
Margarites said the Center is very active and there are often two or three programs running at the same time. Yesterday, a line dancing class had to be moved to space on the second floor of Town Hall because a tax program was scheduled for the same time and space is limited.
“It will be great to have more space for fitness classes, and we can expand our social programs,” said Margarites.  “We have so many different programs going on that this will really help.”
The addition will be built at the rear of the building which now houses a covered patio.
The funds for the addition are from a $475,000 Community Development Block Grant administered by the PVPC. Reinhardt Associates prepared the plans and specifications.
“The PVPC is serving a community development role for us,” said Stinehart.
He added that the town meeting appropriated additional funds for items the town wanted that were not eligible for CDBG funding, including having stronger walls and a concrete slab roof that would make a future second-story addition an easy build.
The contractors and sub-contractors toured the existing facility and exterior yesterday. Johnson said the pre-bid conference was mandatory in order to bid.
Bids are allowed until 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, at the PVPC office at 60 Congress St., Springfield.
Stinehart explained general contractors are usually present at the sub-contractor bid opening in order to select subs to include in their general bid.
General contractor bids will be accepted at the PVPC office until 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 11.
Stinehart said the lowest bidder who meets state requirements will be selected April 11. Sub trades for the project include masonry, electrical and heating ventilation and air conditioning.
Johnson said the bulk of the work will likely take place in June and July. Margarites said she hopes the grand opening will take place by the end of September.

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