Transfer Station Costs Impinge on Building Plans

What can you get for $3 million these days? Not enough, Public Works Director Michael Fowler told the Town Council at its Jan. 7 meeting.

Fowler was reporting on plans for a new transfer station. While the $3 million bond has been sold, the money won’t go as far as they’d hoped, he told the Council.

“We are struggling,” Fowler said.

He and the design team are trying to figure out how much building they can get for $3 million and where to put it, he said. They’ve identified what may possibly be the best spot, on the current Transfer Station site beyond the “cardboard building.” A pile of debris and recyclables has been removed, Fowler said.

The size has dwindled since he began the process, according to Fowler. While the building was originally planned for 22,000 square feet, he and the architects reduced it to 17,000 square feet.

“It was still over-budget,” Fowler said. The current proposal is for 10,000 square feet, a number he doesn’t want to dip below because he wants enough space for the facility to be effective. There is a need for 40 spaces for parking, he said.

The site work alone is estimated to be $3 to $4 million, Fowler said, and is “driving a lot of the cost.”

Councilor Brad Benson has put up buildings recently with his company, Benson Lumber and Hardware, and questioned the figures. “That would be $300 a square foot,” he said.

Fowler said he hopes to do some of the work internally, with town crews, and added, “Can I have your contractor’s number?”

“If we’re going to build it, it needs to be large enough to function,” Fowler said.

But, he added, he’s not going to spend $5 or $6 million when he only has three.

Fowler said he would talk to other engineers and contractors, and that he was “kicking around” the design-build concept.

“We are still trying to refine this,” he said.