With construction begun, Shuffle project's under budget, Board of Ed move delayed

Mather Community Center Shuffle Darien

An artist’s rendering of the new entrance to the Mather Community Center, which will replace the Board of Education offices at Town Hall. The community center will also serve as the home of senior center programing.

Construction on the Shuffle project has begun, according to Selectman Dave Campbell, chairman of the project’s building committee.

The project, conceived by Campbell during his first term as first selectman, will move the Board of Education to the former library building at 35 Leroy Avenue. The senior center will move from it’s current location at Edgerton Street to Town Hall and become the Mather Center.

The initial phase, renovation of 35 Leroy Avenue, has begun. The Hazmat, oil tank removal and gas line to the building have all been completed, Campbell said. The demolition of the interior is currently being completed.

The current contract with Dappreio construction company on the 35 Leroy Avenue piece is $2,406,505, which is almost $100,000 less than its original low bid, and approximiately $50,000 less than budgeted.

Campbell also said he expects the town to be reimbursed $200,000 from the state’s Department of Education because the building will be used as an educational facility. Additionally, the town could receive $400,000 for the original purchase of the library building, also because it is being used for an educational facilty. That $400,000 would go to lower the bonding on the library purchase.

The construction plans on the Mather Center are also currently moving forward. Changes made to the plans by the architect and building committee have created savings that bring the Mather Center to $3,273,270 pending final change confirmations. That is $326,730 less than the original bid and the original budget.

A separate item is a possible alternate of a generator for the Mather Center so it can serve as a warming or cooling center during power outages. That cost would be $195,750, but Campbell said that decision doesn’t need to be made until March “so there is plenty of time to explore options.”

The completion date for the Board of Ed facility has been moved to March 28 from Feb. 15 due to the time it took to work out contracts and the power outage due to Hurricane Sandy.

The Board of Ed is now scheduled to move over the April break. The Mather Center is now scheduled for occupancy in early October.

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