WESTFIELD – P3 Project Planning Professionals Inc. was chosen to serve as owner’s project manager of the Franklin Avenue Elementary School renovation.
The proposed project aims to renovate the 64-year-old Franklin Avenue school to include students who currently attend Abner Gibbs Elementary School. Abner Gibbs, which is over 100 years old and needs major improvements, would close. Selecting the manager, known as the OPM, is a requirement of the Massachusetts School Building Authority which is overseeing the project and will reimburse the city for a majority of the project cost.
P3, of Norwell, has served as OPM for several city projects, including the Little River Fire Station, the Senior Center, the roof project at Westfield High School, and work done a decade ago at Westfield Technical Academy.
Director of Purchasing Tammy Tefft said the process to select an OPM went very well, with six companies responding to a Request for Services. The School Building Committee, chaired by Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr advertised the Request. Tefft, who serves as vice chair, then led a subcommittee to review the bids.
The subcommittee narrowed the six companies down to three, and interviewed the three ranked highest P3 Project Planning Professionals, Skanska USA Buildings, and Colliers International.
Following the last interview on Feb. 26, the subcommittee unanimously recommended P3, which was ranked the highest in the pointing structure.
The School Building Committee also authorized Tefft to negotiate with P3, Inc. for the OPM contact.
“We’re in that process of negotiation,” Tefft said. She said the city must get a signed contract from the company, but the city cannot sign it until the process is approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority .
Tefft said the documentation of the search and selection will go to the Authority on March 3. The approval of the city’s choice for OPM will be on the April 6 Authority meeting agenda. Following Authority approval, the two-year feasbility study begins.
Tefft said five of the six companies that bid have all done extensive work for the Authority. The OPM will represent Westfield on the project and be “our liaison to everybody else,” she said.
“I’m very happy. I thought the process worked well, and we had a great team reviewing the bids,” Tefft said. The team included Tefft, Westfield Public School CFO Ronald R. Rix, Director of Facilities Bryan Forrette, Boys & Girls Club CEO Bill Parks, and Westfield Architect Chris Carey.
Tefft said the next step will be to hire an architect. At the end of the two-year process, the committee will have. a schematic for the project.
The City Council voted unanimously in October 2019 to approve the $900,000 funding for the feasibility study, which will be reimbursed monthly based on submitted invoices.
The MSBA voted to invite the city into the feasibility study in December 2019 with a reimbursement for expenses of 71.24%, which Rix called “an exceptional rate of reimbursement for the study.”