HARVARD -- Historical Commissioner and liaison to the Town Hall Building Committee Chris Cutler updated the Harvard Historical Commission on bids the THBC received for renovations at Town Hall.

He also shared the additional amount needed at Town Meeting.

Construction bids came in at approximately $800,000 over what the town already approved in April 2012. A warrant article will go before Town Meeting on Oct. 16 for $1.1 million.

The project was originally estimated to cost $2.9 million plus an additional $1 million for other additional components such as architect, design and engineering, furniture, fixtures and relocation costs, among other things. The 2012 estimate for the total project was $3.9 million.

The town approved the $3.9 million with an additional $1 million generated by Community Preservation Act funding.

Recent project bids came in at $800,000 over budget. Increasing the new amount needed to $1.1 million was a move made by the Board of Selectmen. Due to rising costs, "we wanted to be absolutely certain that we covered all unknowns and make sure that any other unforeseen costs could be born from the approved budget," Board of Selectmen Chairman Marie Sobalvarro said.

HC Chairman Ken Swanton asked Cutler if there is anything more that the HHC needs to do for the Town Meeting vote.

"I don't think so, everything has already been done. If you want to come and support the article you can," Cutler said.


Commissioner Sherry Graham said some folks appear to think it is the HHC's fault that project costs have risen due to their building guidelines and regulations.

"No, not at all. It is because the estimate was so grossly under reality," Cutler said.

Swanton asked the group to come to a consensus on how it feels toward the building.

"It's a shame what's happening to the building and it needs to be addressed," Swanton said. "The building is very critical to the town center. I feel like we should speak out to the degree we feel comfortable about having that building restored and taken care of."

"I agree. If we could come together and voice it, that would be great," Cutler said.

Community Preservation Committee liaison Jon Martin advised against taking a stand on the article, but rather, just be prepared to defend itself.

"We may want to hold back unless someone makes a disparaging remark about the HHC and have a remark saying 'this is what we think' or we have a one-page paper statement to hand out," Martin said. "I wouldn't stand up and say anything."

Commissioners agreed.

"That building represents this whole town and to see it deteriorating is terrible. Something needs to be done," Graham said.

"It is a key contributing structure to the historic district. It should be preserved and it should be preserved well," Ostberg said.

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