Voters in June for a $45 million renovation to the high school. Now town officials must select an architectural firm to implement the project.
Over the summer, the Public Buildings Commission combed through a list of companies vying for the opportunity to be that firm and winnowed them down to three: Fletcher-Thompson Associates, Friar Associates, and Kaestle-Boos Associates. On Sept. 5, commission members devoted a special meeting to interviewing the firms on the short-list.
Fletcher-Thompson presented first. The firm boasts an impressive resume of 140 school renovations in the past 15 years, including 22 high schools, 12 of which were "as new" renovations, the same classification as the Rocky Hill High School project.
Fletcher-Thompson also impressed the commission with the comprehensive and aggressive action-plan they had laid out in the event that they do secure the contract. Project Manager Angela Cahill stated that they could have engineers in the school to make initial survey observations two days after the town signed a letter of intent with them.
Commissioner Ray Hayden was familiar with Fletcher Thompson's work on Killingly High School in the Dayville of Killingly. He called it, "one of the best ergonomically-designed high schools I've ever seen."
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The crux of Friar Associates' pitch was that some of their key personnel had already partnered with the town at the local government level to make the high school renovations a reality. Senior Project Manager Mike Sorano reviewed their efforts to try to get the public to approve the project in 2008 and 2010, as well as the one that was finally successful this year.
"We know all the major players in town. We know this project inside and out," Sorano said.
Chief Engineer Bruce Dalkowski added, "We would really like the privilege to finish what we've already started and see the project through to its successful conclusion."
Kaestle-Boos Associates delivered the flashiest presentation. Their team displayed roughly 20 visual boards illustrating everything from prospective new blueprints for the school, proposed mechanical and electrical schematics and diagrams, and artistic representations of some of the firm's ambitious conceptual designs, such as a sleek entrance lobby and a rebuilt cafeteria featuring a modern food-court and outdoor patio-dining.
After the presentations, the commission entered executive session but ultimately did not move to formally recommend a firm to the Town Council. Instead, members will reassemble for a special meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"We needed time to digest all the information put before us," Commisson Chairman Peter Parrotta said this week.
The Public Buildings Commission will hold another special meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Elevator Conference Room of the Town Hall. The commission is expected to officially recommend a firm for the high school renovation bid.