Conway rejects public safety building bids due to high costs, will likely try again

Conway’s public safety building was the subject of a legislative tour in 2022 that brought then-State Auditor Suzanne Bump, pictured at left, to Conway to explore the state of public safety complexes in western Massachusetts. The tour followed a 2021 report compiled by Bump that underscored the “critical need” for infrastructure in this region.

Conway’s public safety building was the subject of a legislative tour in 2022 that brought then-State Auditor Suzanne Bump, pictured at left, to Conway to explore the state of public safety complexes in western Massachusetts. The tour followed a 2021 report compiled by Bump that underscored the “critical need” for infrastructure in this region. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Conway Public Safety Complex houses police, fire and ambulance services.

The Conway Public Safety Complex houses police, fire and ambulance services. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 05-04-2024 1:01 PM

CONWAY — With bids coming in too high and a potential change in the scope of work, the Selectboard has voted to reject all of the bids for the public safety building addition project, but will likely try again to move the project forward.

The board voted unanimously last week to reject all of the bids for the extensive addition to the 15 Ashfield Road building after the bids came in higher than anticipated — a trend beginning to appear around the Pioneer Valley, including for Deerfield’s Tilton Library project.

“The way the bids came in, we, at this point, don’t feel like we have the funds to pay for the public safety building in the way we had anticipated,” said Selectboard member Erica Goleman.

“We hope we can have another crack at it,” added Selectboard Chair Philip Kantor.

Reached by phone Thursday, Kantor reiterated Goleman’s statement and said they’re likely to try again.

Conway had set aside $311,000 of leftover money from the Highway Department’s building project and $84,695 from the sale of public lands at the 2023 Annual Town Meeting, which would supplement roughly $390,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. With this funding set aside, the building addition was set to be funded without appropriating any more money from taxpayers.

The project also saw the scope of work change, as Highway Superintendent Ron Sweet was originally going to do the excavation work required for the project, but Public Buildings Committee member Ken Ouimette said at an April 1 Selectboard meeting that Sweet is no longer able to commit to that.

In that meeting, the Public Buildings Committee shared its recommendation to reject the bids.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Former NMH dorm head admits to having sex with minor; charge stems from 1975
20 years strong: Gill’s Wagon Wheel Restaurant marks decades of perseverance
Talks on noise mitigation at Greenfield grow facility to continue Aug. 15
Real Estate Transactions: July 19, 2024
In wake of damage from 62 mph winds, hundreds left without power
Greenfield resident to lead Northampton Building Department

If the town succeeds in retrying the bidding process, the project would create individual offices for the Fire, Police and Ambulance departments, while also creating space for a shower, a laundry room and a conference room.

The building, which was built in the 1940s, was the subject of a legislative tour in 2022 that brought then-State Auditor Suzanne Bump and other legislators to Conway to explore the state of public safety complexes in western Massachusetts. The tour followed a 2021 report compiled by Bump that underscored the “critical need” for infrastructure in this region.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.