Construction Management Firm Hired

August 26, 2016



by Barbara O’Brien

Windham School Board members have unanimously voted to hire the firm of E. W. MacMillan to serve as the school district’s construction manager during an anticipated major construction project at Golden Brook School, as well as renovations at Windham Middle School.  Overcrowding and space constraints have been a serious dilemma for years.

The proposal expected to be put forth to voters next March is anticipated to be similar to the project that nearly passed voter scrutiny this past March.  While a 60 percent majority vote was required to pass a bond construction project, last spring’s proposal came very close, with a 57 percent majority of votes cast.  Members of the Building and Grounds Committee continue to tweak last year’s proposal and are moving forward with developing a proposal they hope will meet with voter approval next spring.  Last year’s proposal totaled $38,950,000.

Superintendent Richard Langlois said that the school district had received three applications for the position of construction manager; each of which was “a strong candidate.”  Following a presentation by E. W. MacMillan to the school board on Aug. 9, however, board members voted 5 to 0 to hire MacMillan as construction manager.

Now that a construction manager is on board, it is expected that a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for the construction project will be determined.  The construction manager will be collaborating closely with members of the school board’s Building and Grounds Sub-Committee.

When the 2016-2017 school district budget was adopted this past March, it included $100,000 to pay for architectural and engineering design, about half of what is now needed.  In order to make up the $99,000 deficit, school board members voted 5 to 0 to take the additional needed funds from the bottom line operating budget.  “We don’t want to slow down the process,” Langlois said.  “We need to go lightning fast!”

Voting in favor of hiring the construction management firm and taking funds from the bottom-line operating budget were Chairman Daniel Popovici-Muller, Vice Chairman Rob Breton and school board members Tom Murray, Ken Eyring and Dennis Senibaldi.  It was not decided precisely from which line in the budget the money would be taken.

During the following meeting, on Aug. 16, however, on the recommendation of Budget Administrator William Hickey, it was decided to take up to $110,000 from a capital needs assessment plan established from an insurance rebate set aside for roof repairs at Windham Center School, instead of from the bottom line operating budget.  After the capital reserve fund was set up, which was a couple of years ago, it was determined that some of the roof repairs at Center School could be delayed for five to seven years.  School board members voted 4 to 0 to use a portion of that capital reserve fund for architectural and engineering designs, instead.  Voting in favor of the change of purpose were Popovici-Muller, Breton, Eyring and Murray.  Senibaldi was not in attendance at the Aug. 16 meeting.