The committee tasked with developing a plan regarding the future of the Town’s public school buildings has decided an owner’s project manager would be the type of consultant the group will seek.
The School Modernization Committee, which met Monday, also approved forming three subcommittees. One will be tasked with writing the request for proposals to obtain the project manager services. Another subcommittee will tour of out-of-district school buildings in neighboring towns.
A third committee will gather input from teachers and other school staff.
The group has a Sept. 15, 2020 deadline to present a plan for the use of school buildings to the Town Council and Board of Education. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Dodd Middle School at 7 p.m.
AnnMarie Kemp, who chairs the Committee, said based on where the group is at in the process, it would be helpful to get an owner’s representative with expertise in all phases of the process.
Representatives from Colliers International, a project management firm with an office in Madison, described the role of an owner’s project manager during an hour-long presentation.
Marc Sklenka, a managing director for Colliers, described an owner’s project manager as an advocate for the owner of a construction project, representing the client in all phases of a project, from pre-planning activities, including state school construction grant applications and site evaluations, to the hiring of architects and construction.
“Our interest is solely representing your goals, your ideas, your interests,” Slenka said, adding, “Many of our clients don’t have the time of day to manage or oversee construction projects.”
Town Finance Director Jim Jaskot followed with a presentation that highlighted the town’s current AAA bond rating, while also showing the town’s debt service history over the last 25 years and projected debt over the next decade.
The Town had reduced the percentage of the cost of paying off long term debt within the overall town budget.
In the early 2000s, debt service had represented nearly 13 percent of Cheshire’s budget expenses. By the last fiscal year that percentage had been whittled down to 5.9 percent, Jaskot explained.
Jaskot’s projections showed that percentage increasing over the next decade, even without the addition of possible school construction projects.