Intermediate School: Construction Manager Exit Prompts New Hire
ROCKY HILL - The Intermediate School Project Building Committee has hired a new construction manager in the wake of top bidder FIP Construction’s early exit from the $31 million project.

       FIP, who, according to Mark Sklena-Senior Director of Project Management for Colliers International-resigned over deadline “scheduling issues”, among other contract related reservations, was hired by the town in March.

       Town Councilor John Emmanuel-who serves on the Committee-made the announcement during a report given to the Council on Monday night, with the Committee holding a special meeting the next evening to recommend the hiring of Hartford-based Newfield Construction, Inc.

       FIP could not be reached for comment.

       Newfield Construction was the second place bidder in the final interview process.

       Committee member Barry Goldberg expressed disappointment in FIP for walking away from the project, calling the move “unprofessional”.

       “They wasted our time,” he said. “They should be before us tonight to apologize.”

       Committee member Frank Morse asked why the contract issues-listed in 18 questions-did not come up sooner.

       The Committee found out about FIP’s exit the previous Thursday.

       As for Newfield, they have agreed to sign on for the terms negotiated with FIP, Sklenka told the Committee.

       “I didn’t have any problem with their presentation,” Goldberg said. “I thought they should have been no. 1.”

       The Committee solicited RFQs from construction managers at the beginning of March, with final interviews held March 16. FIP rose above the three frontrunners, heaping praise from Councilors and Committee members alike.

       The Committee had received a total of six bids for the project.

       The Committee has spent the past several weeks working with FIP consultants and architects from Kaestle Boos Associates to fine tune the blueprint of the envisioned fourth and fifth grade intermediate school-to be constructed at the former Moser School site.

       The 79,000 square foot building would accommodate up to 580 students-the district’s entire fourth and fifth grades-eliminating the need for portable trailer classrooms at West Hill and Stevens Elementary Schools.

       The project proposal-supported overwhelmingly in this past November’s referendum-has been driven by elementary level overcrowding and the anticipation that it will continue as enrollment continues to grow.

       Right now, the building plans include a library/learning common area atrium, along with specialized world language and STEM classrooms.

       Last week architects presented some adjustments that include shaping the cafeteria to double as a venue for musical performances, and the exterior of the building will include multi-use fields to accommodate soccer and lacrosse.