September 29, 2020
by Emily Thurlow
WILBRAHAM – After putting the project out to bid three times, the Select Board has awarded the general contract to build the town’s new Department of Public Works garage to Forish Construction Co. Inc.
In a unanimous vote Monday, the board approved a bid of $714,676 from the Westfield-based construction company. The meeting was held via GoToMeeting conferencing software due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the vote, Select Board member Robert Boilard remarked that “it better be a nice garage for $700,000,” which led to DPW Director Tonya Basch providing further details about the project.
“It’s beyond a garage,” said Basch, noting that there will be a specialty truck wash inside the future facility that will help the DPW maintain its equipment.
“this garage is going to house our vehicles that we spend $100,000 to $200,000 on and we’ll be able to wash them properly, which will protect them from all the corrosion, so it’s a great investment for us to make to protect our long-term investment of all the vehicles.”
She also said it was difficult to perform vehicle maintenance at the DPW’s former garage.
“Unfortunately, construction is expensive,” Basch said. “This is actually the third time that we’ve gone out to bid. We essentially removed some components and shrunk the building down to make it more economical. We threw out the first two bids because we didn’t like the price. Although it does seem expensive, it has actually been whittled down from what it was originally, which was almost at $1 million.
The new garage will be built at the site of the old one, 2721 Boston Road. The previous garage was taken down last year, and equipment has been stored in the parking lot ever since.
Bids for the construction project were closed in July 2019. The project was again put out to bid and closed in February. The project received six bids in the first two rounds, and eight bids in the third, round, which closed Sept. 18. Forish Construction, of Westfield, was the lowest bidder in the third round.
Forish’s past public sector projects have included construction of the John Zon Community Center in Greenfield as well as renovations and upgrades to multiple buildings at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Basch said a construction timeline for the Wilbraham facility will be determined after meeting with the contractor.
Between all five of its divisions – engineering, highway, wastewater, water and solid waste, the Wilbraham DPW has 26 full-time employees and a total operating budget of $6 million, according to the 2019 town report.