Public Works Director Art Simonian, Town Manager Denise McNair and Mayor Adam Salina all gave positive comments at the Town Council meeting Tuesday night about the progress of the Berlin High School renovation project.
Simonian said while timelines are guesswork, he hoped Phase I of the project could begin by November or December of this year and be completed by June of 2013.
He said there are also some line items that have been found that could be eliminated. He mentioned that in the original proposal, there was money built in to warm and heat while indoor work was done. "If things fall right, we could be doing a lot of that work in the warmer months and we would not have to heat the inside of the building over and above what we already do," Simonian said.
McNair said that there has been as much communication as possible between the Public Building Commission (PBC), the Board of Education and town staff.
"We are doing our best to get the information passing freely between all of those involved and out to the public as well," McNair said. "To have all of the agencies working together in tandem is a big challenge."
At the next Town Council meeting, an advisory committee will likely be appointed to help with the communication between the various commissions and the public. There will be two members of the Town Council, two members of the Board of Education and two members of the public to attend all Public Building Commission meetings.
Mayor Adam Salina said that hiring Attorney Tim Corey was a turning point in the project.
"I admit it, I was so frustrated that I said I wanted to throw everybody of the project and start over but the biggest thing was bringing in Attorney Tim Corey," Salina said. "He made us see that if we went back out to bid we would lose 18 months at least. It has been great looking through his point of view because he has been through this process with various high schools and universities"
Salina said that the public has to know that the project is also not behind as most believe.
"Attorney Corey came in and asked when we got the state approval for funding," Salina said. "We told him June 29th and he thought we were talking 2011 but when we told him 2012 he said you're right on time. Maybe a few weeks behind but not more than that."
Salina said he knows residents want to see action and a shovel in the ground so they will feel better about the project.
"I understand that and I'm with them," he said. "From what we're being told, we should see some action soon on Phase I. That's only a small part of the renovation project but any action towards the real work is progress and forward movement."