A city councilor is upset that officials plan to hire the more costly of two architectural firms vying to draw up blueprints for the proposed 900-student school on Pine Street.
The Forestville School Building Committee agreed recently to spend an extra $365,000 to hire a Hartford firm rather than the Massachusetts-based Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc. that prepared the initial plans for the $132 million project to construct two kindergarten to eighth grade schools.
“It’s upsetting,” said city Councilor Mike Rimcoski, who called it a blow to taxpayers to shell out more than necessary for the project.
The school panel is seeking the city’s green light to hire Tai Soo Kim, Partners and Architects of Hartford for $2.14 million to draw up the detailed plans necessary to move ahead with the school slated for construction on the former Crowley dealership site.
It bypassed DRA, the runner-up in the architectural competition, which proposed doing the work for $1.785 million, Rimcoski said.
Superintendent Philip Streifer said that the architects need to finish their work in a year so the city can get the state’s blessing on the blueprints in time to have a construction contract signed by June 13, 2010.
He said the timetable is extremely tight, but it can be done.
Rimcoski said that city councilors are ready to ask the school panel to take another look at the architect selection and either change the pick or justify spending more.
“We’re not talking about peanuts. We’re talking about an 18 percent difference,” Rimcoski said.
Rimcoski said that DRA should be able to get off to a faster start, too, because of its familiarity with the project.
The veteran GOP councilor said that he has no personal stake in the decision.
“I wouldn’t know DRA if they ran over me with a truck,” Rimcoski said.
Rimcoski said he just wants taxpayers to get the possible deal.
City councilors plan to meet with both school building committees at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 17 to go over the projects and perhaps give final approval to the proposed Matthews Street site for the second school.
Educators hope to build the two new schools by 2015 and to shutter four older buildings – Memorial Boulevard Middle School and three elementary schools: Bingham, O’Connell and Greene-Hills.
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