Architect estimates municipal building/gym renovation cost at $5.8 million

MIDDLEBURY — Bread Loaf Corp. estimates it would cost approximately $5.8 million to renovate the Middlebury municipal building and gym at their current location at the intersection of College and South Main streets.
Bread Loaf project architect Chris Huston presented that cost estimate to the Middlebury Town Office & Recreation Steering Committee on Tuesday. The committee had asked for that information in response to appeals from some local residents that the town fix and maintain those buildings instead of erecting new structures off site. Current plans call for a 9,400-square-foot town office building to be erected at 77 Main St. and an 11,500-square-foot recreation center to be built off Creek Road.
That plan also calls for the town offices and gym to be removed from the current site, which would be conveyed (along with a town-owned lot on Cross Street) to Middlebury College in exchange for $5.5 million. The town would use $1 million of that money to relocate the college’s Osborne House from 77 Main St. to the Cross Street parcel, and to raze and remove the municipal building. The remaining $4.5 million would be applied to construction of the new town offices and rec. center.
Middlebury officials believe they can limit local taxpayers’ liability for the projects to $2 million. Some residents have suggested the town might be able to renovate its current facilities on site for around the same amount.
But Huston on Tuesday placed those renovation costs at $5,798,300, which reflects such expenses as:
•  $4,561,200 in total construction costs, including a 4 percent construction management fee and a 10 percent contingency.
•  Engineering costs amounting to $365,000.
•  $493,000 as the owner’s (town’s) contingency.
•  $27,100 for permitting.
•  $104,000 for temporary office rental during construction.
•  $100,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
•  $25,000 for hazardous material abatement.
Huston said the construction — which would include an interior gut and rebuild of the municipal building — would amount to roughly $131 per square foot, reflecting work on the 14,136-square-foot municipal building and 20,580-square-foot gym. The two buildings, he said, include many hallways and some unsuitable (for offices) space in the basement area. With that in mind, the final renovation would produce approximately the same program space as in the current plan for two new buildings, according to Huston.
Renovation work would also involve replacing the current heating, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems, as well as including an elevator and satisfying state and federal accessibility requirements.
At $5.8 million, the estimated renovation cost remains almost triple the $2 million project limit that selectboard members want to establish for taxpayers. That $2 million would be added to the $4.5 million from the college for a total construction budget of $6.5 million. It should be noted that the most recent project estimates have exceeded that figure by roughly $700,000, but Huston and his colleagues believe they will ultimately be able to hit the budget target.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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