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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 4/13/2017

April 28th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Meeting Minutes
April 13, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m.
Carroll Town Hall
Members and guests present: Allan Clark (guest), John Gardiner, Greg Hogan, Michael Hogan, Jeremy Oleson, David Scalley, and Imre Szauter
The meeting of the Building Committee began at 1:04 p.m. and was recorded.
Attendees stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
A draft agenda was distributed and a sign-in sheet was routed around.
Attendees introduced themselves.
The draft minutes of the Mar. 17, 2017 meeting were discussed. Michael Hogan made a motion, seconded by John Gardiner, to approve the minutes as written. The vote was unanimous.
The draft minutes of the Mar. 28, 2017 meeting were discussed. Michael Hogan made a motion, seconded by Greg Hogan, to approve the minutes as written. The vote was unanimous.
The draft minutes of the Mar. 30, 2017 meeting were discussed. Michael Hogan made a motion, seconded by John Gardiner, to approve the minutes as written. The vote was unanimous.
Imre Szauter welcomed Sugar Hill Fire Chief Allan Clark and thanked him for offering to share his experiences as project manager for the Franconia Public Safety Building.
John Gardiner asked Allan Clark several questions related to the Franconia Public Safety Building, a 9,630 square foot, single-story structure on the site of the former police and fire departments building. Allan Clark discussed siting the building, as Franconia was space-restricted due to wetlands on and adjacent to the property. He mentioned the original wetlands areas that were filled in, creating unstable soil conditions for the new building. At additional expense, they installed geo-piers to stabilize the foundation.
Allan Clark stated their process began much as the Town of Carroll’s most-recent effort. He was brought on board as the project manager when issues surfaced with the original plans. Franconia officials and planners spent considerable time and effort to involve the community, which resulted in passage of their warrant article with an 87% affirmative vote. Prior to the warrant article’s passage, preliminary expenditures were paid by their Select Board using moneys from a Capital Reserve Fund.
Allan Clark explained his occupation is real estate developer and project manager, with over $435 million worth of projects completed or underway.
Allan Clark described two methods for completing a project such as ours. The first method (design/bid/build) involves hiring an architect to design the facility, submitting the plan for bid
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by contractors, and hiring a contractor to complete the project. The second method (design/build) involves hiring an architect to develop initial specifications and plans and then combining the architect and a builder as a team. The team is responsible for developing final plans based on a cost-plus basis, with a guaranteed final cost. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
Franconia opted to go the design/build route, having interviewed five teams before selecting Ricci Construction of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The team spent considerable time researching energy efficiency for the new building, with an eye toward future inclusion of geothermal and/or photovoltaic power generation onsite. Allan Clark explained the construction and insulation properties of the building that make it very energy efficient in its use of propane and electricity. He identified the slab as being 7 inches thick and well insulated underneath, resulting in the radiant heating system being very effective for the building.
John Gardiner asked about general conditions, to which Allan Clark explained what is covered under that heading and how much would be budgeted for each item.
Allan Clark expounded on some of the considerations needed to address construction on what once was designated as wetlands. He mentioned the fill, the septic system and the proximity to the river as challenges for the project; all were remedied by working with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
Based on a design analysis by an independent energy consultant, it was determined that using propane would be the most efficient method for heating the building. Allan Clark cited the year 2016 heating cost of propane at $3,953 as proof that the focus on the building’s energy efficiency paid off. The town purchased and installed two 1,000 gallon underground storage tanks, providing enough capacity to supply the emergency generator and heat the building for one week.
Allan Clark identified an issue of allocating energy costs (propane and electricity) among the police, fire and EMS services in the building. Electricity costs for year 2016 totaled $6,558, divided between power for the building and the fire booster pump. All lighting is LED (Light-Emitting Diode); the exterior of the building is lit dusk-to-dawn for safety and security. The fire department apparatus bay is lit 24 hours per day. The police department utilizes conditioned air in the warm months, while the fire department does not, as it is not normally staffed.
The Town of Franconia appropriated $1.9 million for the project, while the final facility cost came in at $1.809 million. Financing was handled through a local bank, as it was less expensive and handled quicker than it would have been through the municipal bonding approach. Actual construction costs came out to about $160 per square foot. Allan Clark offered that our costs could be closer to $190 per square foot, in large part due to changing construction and financial market conditions. Finding qualified subcontractors is another issue of concern in the North Country.
Allan Clark mentioned a $70,000 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Homeland Security for inclusion of equipment and facilities related to the Franconia EOC (Emergency
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Operations Center). He also stated that they qualified for a $10,000 Eversource Energy rebate because they used LED lighting and other energy efficient equipment.
John Gardiner asked about payments to contractors as work progressed. Allan Clark stated that disbursements from made from the loan package, similar to how residential construction projects are handled. Following inspections, disbursements were made to the appropriate entities. The actual construction portion of the project took about 6 months.
The building required a concrete fire wall between the apparatus bay and the office spaces, so two cinder block, load-bearing walls were built. A combined wet/dry sprinkler system was installed, as fire stations are required to have a fire-suppression system. Building security includes interior and exterior cameras, intrusion alarms, and programmable keycard access for all doors.
John Gardiner asked what Allan Clark, with the benefit of hindsight, would do differently on the project. He responded that the hose reels for equipment cleaning (one in the police department sally port and four in the fire department apparatus bay) were roughed in with ½ inch pipe and loaded with ½ inch garden-type hose, instead of using ¾ inch pipe and hose. The concrete apron in front of the building is heated (to reduce snow and ice accumulation) instead of relying on personnel manually clearing the area.
Allan Clark mentioned that they installed twice the recommended thickness of flexible insulation under the concrete floor to improve efficiency, with the goal of maintaining the fire department office areas at 60°, the apparatus bay at 50°, and the police department at 68°. However, they did not insulate sufficiently between the three different areas, so the apparatus bays are actually warmer than designed due to bleed-over from the police department. Four supplemental Modine heaters in the apparatus bay provide extra heat to warm equipment upon return from a cold weather call.
Floor drains are required to empty into holding tanks for pollution control of waste water. Allan Clark stated they deployed a quality epoxy-based floor treatment to protect the concrete flooring from physical and corrosion damage. The fire department training room uses an air-source heat pump to condition the interior air for meetings and events, lessening the burden on the radiant floor heating system in the winter and providing cooling in the warm months.
Imre Szauter asked about storage. Allan Clark stated he thought the police department had adequate storage. He further stated the Select Board wanted storage within the building kept to a minimum so as not to create opportunities for collecting and holding unnecessary materials. Allan Clark offered that a workshop area and more storage for the fire department would have been desirable but were not included. He also stated that a bathroom with shower facilities off the fire department turnout gear room would have made for a more efficient flow of personnel. Jeremy Oleson stated that installing a clothes washer and a dryer away from the turnout gear room would be desirable.
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Imre Szauter asked about the exhaust gas removal system in the apparatus bay. Allan Clark stated that they installed AirVac automated ceiling-mounted vacuum systems to vent exhaust gases whenever an apparatus bay door is opened.
David Scalley asked about using ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms); Allan Clark stated he had reservations about them as they have been known to contain air cavities or voids if not properly filled with concrete. John Gardiner asked about the concrete flooring pours, whether they were done all at once or in phases. Allan Clark responded they were done in three phases by a local firm.
Imre Szauter asked about interaction with town officials and the Select Board during the construction process. Allan Clark stated that following contract approval, there were no additional committee meetings related to the project until the grand opening. He hosted weekly job progress meetings with a Select Board representative in attendance, and he reported to the Select Board on a monthly basis. Allan Clark mentioned he visited the job site at least twice a week and sometimes once a day if he was in the area. He stated that it was made clear that he was the sole contact regarding any change requests or issues regarding the project. He felt this was vital to controlling unbudgeted and/or unauthorized changes from town officials and employees.
Imre Szauter asked about translating police and fire departments and administrative offices wants and needs into design requirements. Allan Clark offered that an analysis is undertaken with each department or office to identify their current and future wants/needs. He stated that a key provision to the longevity of a municipal structure is planning for the future needs of a department or office, taking into account potential community growth, changes in vehicle and equipment designs, and increased number of personnel using the facility.
Following the analysis, schematic design takes place, in which functional areas are drawn and positioned to determine building layout.
Allan Clark suggested that installation of an entry door into the apparatus bay at the rear of the Franconia Public Safety Building would have made access for EMS personnel more efficient.
Imre Szauter raised a concern regarding public access to restricted areas in the police and fire departments. Because the Town of Carroll is exploring inclusion of the administrative offices in the same building as the police and fire departments, separating public vehicle and foot traffic from the police and fire departments must be addressed. The Franconia facility houses the police and fire departments only, with public access controlled through the main entrances at the front of the building. Allan Clark suggested that separate foyers with keycard access and remotely-controlled locks could separate the public from the police and fire departments.
Imre Szauter asked about the fire department training room. Allan Clark stated that fire and EMS personnel routinely use it for training and meetings, and that the community has used it on occasion. It has a door to the outside, so personnel entering and exiting the room do not have to use the apparatus bay or other fire department doors. The room is equipped with a large, flat-
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screen television, wireless connectivity, and provisions to expand or upgrade services and equipment.
To provide emergency power and to support the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) functions, the building is equipped with a 60kW, propane-fueled backup generator.
Allan Clark offered that good design practices mandate a long-term view of the functions a building needs to support today and well into the future and do not focus too heavily on personnel, as employees come and go.
Imre Szauter asked about community support now that the Franconia project is complete. Allan Clark stated that the committee members became strong proponents within the community and made sure that Franconia residents were kept informed throughout the project by website posting of meeting minutes, drawings, press releases, progress reports, and photos of the project. There was good representation of talents on the committee, so volunteers were able to address many of the community’s questions and concerns. The warrant article covering the cost of the project passed by a large margin.
The open house following completion was viewed as successful and ongoing energy usage information demonstrates that sound decisions were made. Allan Clark emphasized that the project was promoted as a community building, not just a home for the police and fire departments.
Allan Clark stated that, prior to construction of the new facility, an analysis was completed on the former police and fire departments building. It was determined that it was not economically feasible to renovate the building. Further, there was no real community attachment to the structure, making the decision to demolish it and construct a new facility on the same site much easier for the community to accept.
Jeremy Oleson asked about qualified contractors. Allan Clark stated that Ricci Construction of Portsmouth was very experienced in the construction of municipal structures such as police and fire department buildings and built a high quality facility in Franconia. He also mentioned Conneston Construction, Inc. of Laconia, Daniel Hebert, Inc. of Colebrook, and Presby Construction of Franconia.
Allan Clark stated that the Franconia facility was designed to handle higher snow and wind loads than would normally be specified for that area.
Michael Hogan asked if anyone on the Franconia project had contact with the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) regarding low-interest loans or grants for the Franconia project. Allan Clark stated that no, they did not pursue any loans or grants through the USDA because of the favorable financing package that had been worked out with a local bank.
At the conclusion of the discussion with Allan Clark, he distributed copies of the Franconia Public Safety Building design highlights, the energy conservation design features, and a building photo.
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Following Allan Clark’s departure, attendees further discussed the Franconia Public Safety Building and Allan Clark’s involvement as project manager.
Greg Hogan remarked that during his visit to the Franconia facility he repeatedly heard about the importance of keeping the community informed during and after the project.
David Scalley commented on the record-keeping needed to track progress and pay bills on a project of this size.
Regarding hiring a project manager, attendees agreed that having a single point of contact for a municipal project, through whom all modifications and change orders would be reviewed and authorized, would reduce frustration and help control costs. Further, a qualified project manager would have the expertise and experience to ask the right questions of all departments involved, coordinate the various entities to gather specification, develop floor plans and drawings, and create a realistic budget to increase community support.
Michael Hogan asked if this is the proper point in time to consider bringing in a project manager, without first developing specifications and plans based on our proposed building site. David Scalley responded that passage of the warrant article authorized town officials to spend funds to develop the needs specifications and drawings to take to potential design/build firms and that additional fees for project management could be included in the second phase in which the construction costs are approved by the voters.
Greg Hogan asked if it would be a good idea to invite Allan Clark back to address questions on fees and the process he recommends we follow. David Scalley suggested that Jeremy Oleson contact Allan Clark to discuss his interest in working with us. Michael Hogan asked if the committee should consider other people that might be qualified and interested in working with us before approaching Allan Clark.
Michael Hogan suggested that Imre Szauter contact Allan Clark to determine his interest in working with the town on planning, design and construction of a public safety building and administrative offices facility. If Allan Clark is interested and his schedule permits, ask about his fee structure and the process we should follow to work with him. If Allan Clark is not interested or cannot take on the project for other reasons, would he be willing to recommend other qualified project managers that might be interested in working with us.
David Scalley made a motion, seconded by John Gardiner, to have Imre Szauter contact Allan Clark to determine his interest and availability in working as the project manager for the Town of Carroll Public Safety and Administrative Offices facility. If Allan Clark is interested and available, Imre Szauter should ask about fees, timelines and any other information that Allan Clark can make available. If Allan Clark is not interested or available, Imre Szauter should ask for referrals to other qualified project managers that Allan Clark would recommend. A vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously.
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Michael Hogan suggested the Building Committee review its budget. Imre Szauter reported that as of Apr. 13, the Building Committee had a current year budget of $2,500, of which $358 had been spent on advertising for the Jan. 31, 2017 informational session in Town Hall.
Imre Szauter asked Greg Hogan to discuss the Town Hall heating oil information that Kelly Trammell provided prior to the meeting’s start. Greg Hogan reported that during the first three months of 2017, the Town Hall took delivery of 1,474.6 gallons of heating oil, at a cost of $2,741.28. Compared to the first three months of 2016, when the Town Hall took delivery of 2,734.1 gallons of heating oil at a cost of $5,643.17, the closure of the gymnasium in late December 2016 reduced deliveries by 1,259.5 gallons of heating oil and saved $2,901.89. David Scalley noted that the cost of shutting down the gymnasium and making the necessary changes to the heating system cost about $2,500, so that investment has already paid for itself in reduced heating oil costs.
Imre Szauter mentioned he met with Ben Oleson, Lancaster’s Planning/Zoning Coordinator, to discuss their LED street light conversion program and their photovoltaic array installations that generate about 23% of Lancaster’s municipal power needs. Ben Oleson has offered to assist the Town of Carroll with additional information if the Building Committee is interested in learning more.
Imre Szauter stated that he and Michael Hogan are on the Apr. 17 Select Board agenda to discuss the current Town of Carroll street lighting program, now that we have the current inventory and billing information from Eversource Energy.
Since the initial meeting with Catalina Celentano of Eversource Energy has taken place, Michael Hogan stated he would contact the USDA representative regarding low-interest loans and grants for municipal projects and report back to the committee at the next meeting.
The next meeting of the Building Committee is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 27 at 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall.
Michael Hogan made a motion, seconded by David Scalley, to adjourn the meeting. The vote to adjourn was unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 3:14 p.m.
Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.