Published in the September 9, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Tappe Associates of Boston, the architectural firm that designed the Galvin Middle School, has been selected to perform the feasibility study for the Walton Elementary School. The Permanent Building Committee (PBC) last night chose Tappe to perform the Walton study over the only other firm that submitted a qualified bid, Dore & Whitter of Newburyport.

The PBC also narrowed the selection down to two firms out of the four that submitted proposals to do the Public Safety Building feasibility study. The committee will ask representatives from the final two firms, Allen Lieb Architects of Lynnfield and HKT Architects of Somerville, to make a brief presentation before the board next Thursday, Sept. 15.

Walton School study

The 2016 Annual Town Meeting approved $50,000 for a site study to help the town determine how best to address space constraints at the Walton School. Parents and teachers have complained that a shortage of space has hampered the ability of teachers to teach and students to learn.

They say that one multi-purpose room functions as a library, art class, music class, technology class and science class among other educational uses. Teachers have said the space constraints hamper their ability to do long-term projects because the area must be cleaned up to get it ready for the next use.

In choosing Tappe to do the Walton study, committee members said they found that Tappe’s proposal most closely addressed what the town was asking for with respect to the Walton. They also mentioned their familiarity with Tappe and its team from working with them on the Galvin project.

That familiarity worked against the other firm that submitted a proposal for the Walton, Dore & Whitter, which last year did an “existing conditions” study of the High School. Some PBC members said that they found certain representatives of the firm “frustrating” to work with during the High School study. Several board members also felt that Dore & Whitter representatives were not listening to them regarding the scope of the Walton project and that their proposal was not responsive to what the committee had requested.

Once they voted unanimously to award Tappe the contract for the Walton study, PBC members looked at the fees that each firm had submitted. Tappe had come in with the lower fee of $47,500 compared to Dore & Whittier’s $49,500.

Public Safety Building study

The Public Safety Building, in particular the older part of the building occupied by the Police Department, has reportedly been plagued with problems including issues with boilers, air conditioning units and electrical systems. There have also been reports of space and storage issues. Some have criticized the building layout, including the fact that dispatch is not on the first floor leaving the lobby area unstaffed at times.

Last spring, Annual Town Meeting appropriated $100,000 for a study of the Public Safety Building to determine what it would take to make the needed upgrades to the building.

Four firms submitted proposals. The PBC last night narrowed the choices down to two: Allen Lieb Architects and HKT Architects.

The other two firms that submitted proposals for the Public Safety Building were Dore & Whitter and Tecton Architects of West Hartford, Conn.

PBC chairman Joseph Bertrand suggested having representatives of Allen Lieb and HKT come and make brief presentations to the committee. Other members agreed and they decided to ask them to come next Thursday at 5 p.m. The committee expects to make its final selection after hearing the two presentations.

Committee member Chip Tarbell noted that Allen Lieb’s proposal had come with a fee of $96,000. HKT’s fee proposal was $100,000. He observed that while Techton’s fee request was a much lower $25,000, their proposal did not meet the criteria for the study. Dore & Whittier’s fee would have been $95,000.

Bertrand said that he would contact HKT and Allen Lieb to ask them to come and present to the board next Thursday. Board members suggested that Bertrand also ask each firm to bring with them their final and best fee proposal.