At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, the BOS members unanimously (4-0) approved the recommendation of the Police Department HQ Building Committee to hire the architectural firm Tecton Architects, to provide two design alternatives and cost estimates for the Police Department renovation project.

According to Building Committee co-chair Dave Waters, the goal would be to have the Tecton team provide two design alternatives and cost estimates by Jan. 8, 2020, which would allow the BOS to move forward on its planned timeline to bring a project proposal to voters for consideration at the Annual Town Meeting in May 2020.

Waters described the process the members of his committee used to winnow down the architectural firms they considered from four to one. From issuing an RFQP (request for qualifications and proposals) just one month ago, the committee received four responses and materials, which they reviewed, ultimately deciding on Tecton. He also noted that the building committee was unanimous in its selection of Tecton.

Tecton was one of three firms bidding within a narrow band of estimated costs between $40,000-$45,000. The other, lone bid was considered to be an outlier at $5,000; Waters suggested that the company which made that bid may have misunderstood what the committee was asking for in terms of timing and scope.

Waters said that the price quoted by Tecton falls below the maximum amount ($50,000) that the committee discussed with First Selectwoman (and candidate) Lynne Vanderslice as a not-to-exceed price.

Waters noted that Tecton Associates has worked in CT previously, (and a “fair amount in MA”) and the firm is “intent” on increasing its profile in CT–something Waters said the building committee feels could be beneficial to Wilton. “We think that’s to our advantage to be showcase for future work.”

One Tecton architect is from Wilton and he will be assigned to the project. According to Waters, “He knows the aesthetics and history of Wilton, and where we are in the scheme of things.”

There were additional reasons that Waters lists as to why the building committee believed Tecton is the right choice:

  1. Tecton did an “interesting” analysis on efficiency of design. explaining where they saved money before for clients by increasing the efficiency of the space they were designing, resulting in smaller buildings with the same functionality. That, said Waters, addressed an important question:  “How can you squeeze as much as you can with the dollars you have?”
  2. Sustainability track record: According to Waters, sustainable design is a “nice to do,” and it saves the user money. While sustainable design is “not a huge priority,” it is a priority nonetheless. Waters said Tecton works extensively in Lexington, MA which has many sustainable requirements. “That they have that kind of info and familiarity is a positive because it’s something that should be considered,” he said.
  3. Dispatch:  “they nailed” on this factor, according to Waters. The question of how dispatch will be integrated into the design is still up in the air, because the town doesn’t know what will be required by the state in terms of sharing dispatch resources with other nearby communities.
  4. Waters said the “size and extent of their bench is very good.”  That means the firm has a deep reservoir of possible team members who can work on Wilton’s project. He added that Tecton says it has the ability to take on the project (with regard to its current workload) and will be able to meet the town’s timeline.
  5. The firm is involved inno litigation, mediation or arbitration now or in last 10 years. 

All four would be qualified, but the committee felt Tecton would be “the best fit.”

Waters said officials can probably expect that Tecton will create two conceptual design alternatives–one to renovate and redesign and the other would be to create a new building someplace on the town hall property.

Correction:  The ‘narrow band’ of price bids to which Waters referred was between $40,000 and $45,000, not $20,000 and $45,000. The story has been updated to reflect the change.

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