Hadley senior center designs $1M over budget, meeting set for Thursday

  • The Hadley Council on Aging is currently located in the former Hooker School on Middle Street, pictured here. A new 12,000-square-foot structure designed to be built on a site behind the old school is about $1 million over budget. Gazette file photo

  • Hadley Senior Center Director Suzanne Travisano shows missing tiles at the Hadley Senior Center in this photo from last September. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Thursday, June 01, 2017

HADLEY — Preliminary estimates for a new senior center in Hadley are $1 million over budget, but officials are adjusting plans to keep costs under control.

The Senior Center Building Committee is meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday in Room 112 of the current senior center, 46 Middle St., to discuss cost estimates and any changes to the planned design.

In January, voters approved a $5.3 million Proposition 2½ override to fund a new Council on Aging, currently located in the old Hooker School on Middle Street.

Last week, officials unveiled first-round schematic drawings for the planned 12,000-square-foot structure to be built behind the old school.

Plans call for a one-story building with sliding glass doors, allowing easy access for Hadley’s growing senior population. The new building will also include a new heating and cooling system so classes in the summer won’t have to be called off because of heat.

Suzanne Travisano, town senior services director, said cost estimates are currently about $1 million over the $5.3 million limit, “which isn’t an oh-my-God factor. It just means we have to go back to tuning [the proposal].”

Jane Nevinsmith, chairwoman of the senior center committee, said one of the reasons the costs are over budget is because site work is expected to come in at about $1 million, more than the $300,000 planners anticipated.

“That was unexpected,” Travisano said.

Travisano said Wednesday two cost estimators — one hired by the town and another by EDM Architects — are working to form a cohesive spending plan for the project.

“We’re hoping to have those tomorrow,” Travisano said of the reconciled estimates, “and that will be our starting out point for fine-tuning it to fit within budget based on priority and objectives.”

Travisano said two options on the table for lowering costs are reducing the size of the building or installing an alternative heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

That said, “We want to do it right the first time,” Travisano said. “So it’s (changes) not going to be at the expense of any building systems or the structure itself.”

“I’m still confident we can meet all our program goals” with a scaled-back design, Travisano said.

Neither she nor Nevinsmith had schematic drawings available Wednesday.

Ground-breaking for the senior center was planned for October, but Travisano said that date will have to be pushed back as plans are finalized.

Jack Suntrup can be reached at jsuntrup@gazettenet.com.