City councilors are scheduled Thursday to consider authorizing City Manager William Bridgeo to enter into a contract with J.F. Scott Construction.
If city councilors approve the unanimous recommendation of the advisory committee and City Manager William Bridgeo, J.F. Scott Construction will be responsible for renovating and expanding the library. The firm is owned by Winthrop native and resident John Scott.
“This is the key decision piece in my mind, identifying and hiring the company that is going to be responsible for building the library,” Bridgeo said. “John is a lifelong Winthrop resident, is mid-career and this project is going to be a highly visible, very important piece of work for him. So we — the committee and I — think that will provide strong motivation for him. Not that he wouldn’t do a good job in any circumstance, but that he’ll pay extra special attention to it and bring it in, in quality fashion and within our budget constraints.”
Scott, before forming J.F. Scott Construction in 2013, previously worked as a senior vice president for H.P. Cummings, for whom he was project manager of construction of the new regional MaineGeneral Medical Center in north Augusta.
“This young man is full of enthusiasm and passion about doing this project,” Mayor David Rollins said of Scott. “We’re going to be very happy with him. I know the folks that built the hospital can’t say enough good words about him. He’s from Winthrop. His mom has a library card at Lithgow. We lobbied very hard for local participation. This is a big project of great community pride, and adding as many working people from the local area as we can would be an addition to the local pride.”
Scott said Monday the nature of the project, which will nearly triple the size of the library and renovate the older part of the 1896 building, made it especially exciting to him.
“We’re very excited. It’s a landmark, and any time you get a chance to work on a landmark, it is kind of special,” Scott said. “I get a lot of pride — our company gets a lot of pride — working on buildings that impact the public. And similar to health care and colleges, public libraries impact a lot of people. That’s always appealing to us, jobs that have an impact on society.”
The firm’s other projects include the recently completed $13 million renovation of Thayer Center for Health in Waterville, a new $3.8 million, 70-bed residence hall at Unity College, and the $800,000 expansion of Unity College’s dining hall.
Bridgeo said Scott’s involvement in the construction of the new MaineGeneral hospital in Augusta and hospital officials’ praise of his work and selection of J.F. Scott for the renovations at Thayer Center for Health were factors in the recommendation. The advisory committee included city councilors, library leaders, paid consultants and city staff.
The firm, depending on the time of year, has between 15 and 26 employees, Scott said.
J.F. Scott will manage the construction project, but most of the actual construction work, Bridgeo said, will be sub-contracted out.
Scott said the project will likely employ between 60 and 75 people when subcontractors and their employees are included.
“I’d say the vast majority of those will be from the area,” Scott said, when asked how many of those workers he expects to be local residents. “I think that’s very important. I’m still a Rambler (Winthrop High School’s mascot). So I want to see the people of central Maine succeed.”
A total of 10 firms submitted proposals in response to the city’s request for contractor bids, four of which, each from Maine, were interviewed as finalists.
In a change in how the city has traditionally awarded such projects, bidders did not submit a total project cost with their bids.
Instead, a maximum “not to exceed” project cost will be negotiated between the city and J.F. Scott.
However, bidders did have to provide their fee structures for the work with each setting a percentage of the total project cost as their fees.
J.F. Scott’s percentage fee, 2.9 percent of the total project cost, was the lowest of the four finalists. The other finalists and their proposed percentage fee of the total project cost were Ouellet Associates, of Brunswick, 3.25 percent; Ledgewood, of South Portland, 3.25 percent; and AlliedCook, of Scarborough, 3 percent.
However, Bridgeo said cost was one of several factors considered and not the deciding factor.
“The amount of the fee was a consideration, but not the primary consideration,” Bridgeo said. “The primary considerations had to do with depth of experience, perceived ability to do this job at this point in time, references and experience with comparable projects.”
Bridgeo said he was “100 percent” confident the company can see the library through to completion with the city’s approximately $11 million budget for the Lithgow project.
The maximum project cost will be determined by officials with Scott, the city and the architect who designed the library.
City councilors are scheduled Thursday to consider authorizing Bridgeo to enter into a contract with J.F. Scott for the Lithgow project.
Bridgeo said officials are hopeful construction can start in May, and Lithgow will be ready to be re-occupied in the summer of 2016.
Bridgeo said he signed a lease with Dirigo Capital Advisors last week to provide a temporary location at the Ballard Center for the city’s public library services during the construction project. The Ballard Center is the former MaineGeneral hospital on East Chestnut Street.
Keith Edwards — 621-5647