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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Shuffle expected to be $300,000 over budget

Published 10:35 am, Thursday, March 27, 2014
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The Mather Community Center is months late in opening and is coming in over budget.

The $7 million shuffle project was scheduled to conclude in October with the closing of the senior center on Edgerton Street and the opening of the community center in Town Hall, where the Board of Education was once located.

However, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson announced that most, if not all, of the construction at the Mather Community Center would be completed by May 1 and that the town was going to obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy for April 15.

The "shuffle" involves the senior center moving to the Town Hall Annex and being renamed the Mather Center and the Board of Education offices being moved to the site of the former town library at 35 Leroy Ave.

Unexpected additional projects at the Mather Community Center drove up costs, Stevenson said during her report Monday at the Board of Selectmen meeting.

The project's budget is anticipated to be exceeded by $300,000, Stevenson said, owing to the installation of sprinklers in the gym and asbestos abatement in crawl spaces in the community center.

The asbestos was uncovered in a crawl space under a slab on the ground level upon entering the building, Town Administrator Karl Kilduff said.

"It was riddled with hazardous materials," Kilduff said.

There also were issues with the steam system that distributed heat throughout the building, he said, which were not discovered until the walls were taken down.

The Board of Finance will need to "scrutinize" the excess costs, Stevenson said.

The town will receive $600,000 in reimbursements from the state, $400,000 of which will be for the purchase of 35 Leroy Ave., where the Board of Education is now located.

In January, Dave Campbell, former selectman and chairman of the Mather Community Center/35 Leroy Building Committee, told the selectmen that the entire project would be "very close" to the budget, but that he could not guarantee either way "over or under."

Since the project, which was approved in 2011, will exceed the budgeted $6,979,000, the Representative Town Meeting will be required to vote on appropriating additional funds.

Work was delayed after the first general contractor, Dappreio Construction, showed signs of financial weakness. A new contract was awarded to Gar-San Corp., of Berlin, to complete the Mather Center construction.

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6538; @Meg_DarienNews