Hartford Streamlines Renovation Process

Hartford — The Selectboard gave the green light for Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg to bypass the regular bidding process and use the firm that is designing the renovations of the municipal building to also oversee the construction process.

Middlebury, Vt.-based Bread Loaf Corp., the architecture firm chosen to redesign the 129-year-old building, recently undertook an analysis for Norwich’s municipal buildings.

The approval means that the town will not have to solicit bids to hire a firm to oversee the municipal building renovation and instead allow Bread Loaf itself to manage construction, thereby saving time and keeping the project on schedule, according to officials.

“We think this a very good deal for the town,” said Selectman F.X. Flinn, a member of the Municipal Building Advisory Committee. “The plan is for the design to be completed by early February and the design documents to be ready by early March, so that during March the work could be bid out (to subcontractors). Then in April the construction contracts would be awarded and construction would begin sometime between mid-April and Mid-may and would conclude a year later.”

In most cases, after an architecture firm is selected and has completed its design work and necessary documents, the town would seek competitive bids from other firms to manage construction.

“Generally speaking, in those situations a large construction firm will typically win that bid and then they’ll arrange for all the subcontractors,” Flinn said. “But the way Bread Loaf works is that they prefer to do the construction management part, meaning selecting the subcontractors that do that work.”

Bread Loaf, which estimated it could do the project for $4.15 million, submitted the lowest bid. At March’s Town Meeting, residents approved a $4.9 million bond to cover the municipal building renovations.

On Monday the Selectboard will hold a town budget informational meeting for residents at 7 p.m. at the high school

Selectboard members will go over how the town budget is put together and reviewed. There will also be a public question and answer period.

Flinn said the Selectboard decided to hold the informational meeting to better include residents in the budget-making process and promote transparency.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3305.