Mather Center report on agenda for Darien selectmen

The near completion of the Mather Community Center will be a topic of discussion with the Board of Selectmen.

The town’s top board is expected to receive a report from Board of Education Central Office/Mather Center Building Committee Dave Campbell during Monday’s regular meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

Construction of the Mather Center, the town’s new community and senior center, is expected to finish in May. First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said recently that she expects the cost of the Shuffle project, which includes the Mather Center, to be over budget by about $300,000.

Building committee chairman David Campbell recently told The Darien Times that the overage was partially due to a building contractor, Dappreio going out of business. Losing the contractor also caused a delay in starting the Mather Center because Dappreio was contractor on both parts of the project. The Mather Center half had to be re-bid.  Though the bid came in close to the original bid, the delay and effort to rebid cost additional funds. The HVAC heating system was also not 100% complete at 35 Leroy Ave. when Dappreio went out of business, shortly before the Board of Education moved last spring, he said, and the town had to fix problems that are normally handled by the contractor.

Another part of the overage is that an exterior wall at the Mather Center wasn’t structurally sound. There was also unexpected asbestos in the crawlspace under the center.

The Representative Town Meeting approved approximately $7 million for the entire project just before the November 2011 elections. A referendum failed to overturn the decision thought it drew more votes against the shuffle than for it. The shuffle project is eligible for a $600,000 state reimbursement, but the overage will have to be presented to the Board of Finance for action.

The board will also meet as the town Parking Authority after the regular meeting to discuss the group’s mission statement and policy goals. The Parking Authority first met two weeks ago to begin talking about what can and should be done about improving commuter and visitor parking in the downtown area. Ideas that have been kicked around include building a commuter parking deck at the Leroy West lot and adding more annual permit spaces by reducing the number of daily voucher spaces.

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