Water Main Hookup to Renovated Town Hall to Cost Unanticipated $74,000; Overall Project Remains on Budget


New Canaan will spend an unanticipated $74,000 to connect the renovated Town Hall to a water main, after officials from the public water company found the hookup that had been in place wanting for the expanded structure, officials say.

The 5-by-5-foot trench that will house new lines from the water main in Main Street, running to the renovated Town Hall and Outback Teen Center. Credit: Michael Dinan

The 5-by-5-foot trench that will house new lines from the water main in Main Street, running to the renovated Town Hall and Outback Teen Center. Credit: Michael Dinan

When workers at the Main Street site went to connect to the water main through an existing line, Aquarion discovered that a single line had been serving not only Town Hall but also the Outback Teen Center behind it, and “it turned out we needed a separate line with the two buildings,” said Michael Pastore, director of the Department of Public Works.

“We didn’t know that,” Pastore said. “There is some confusion as to how come this is different to what it was. But it has to be different to what it was. The other thing that happened was when they went to connect into the water main in Main Street, that turned out to be a smaller line than they thought it was.”

The second difficulty likely is because records kept by the former New Canaan Water Company—acquired years ago by Aquarion—could be inconsistent, Pastore said.

All the work together—including a 5-foot-wide trench dug for the new lines, and clearing out the ledge run into in creating it—comes to $74,000. With that allocation, about $124,000 (out of an original $600,000) remains in the contingency fund for the $18 million Town Hall renovation, as noted in the minutes for the Town Hall Building Committee’s Nov. 24 meeting.

The project remains on time and budget, Pastore said.

About $4.5 million of work remains, he said, meaning the $124,000 in contingency funds represents 2.8 percent of that total. That’s down from about 4.6 percent at the start of the project ($600,000 in contingency funds against a $13 million in construction costs).

Though the figures would appear to provide a rather narrow margin for surprises, most of what is unexpected likely has been brought out in the open, Pastore said.

Asked what party is most responsible for not recognizing the water main hookup discrepancy earlier, DPW chief said: “I think it was just confusion in Aquarion itself.”

“It would have helped if the engineers had talked to Aquarion earlier—it would have been known earlier and started earlier,” he said. “It would have been the same answer. It’s not like we are paying for something we didn’t need. We just didn’t know, earlier, that we needed it.”

The trench that will house the new water liens is itself five feet wide and five feet deep, said Michael Avgerinos of Avgerinos Contractors, chairman of the Town Hall Building Committee. That’s because Aquarion is requiring four separate water lines off of the main—for the Outback and then three dedicated lines for Town Hall, including one for fire sprinklers and another for domestic use—and a minimum of 12 to 16 inches is required around each so that if there’s a problem with one and workers need to dig in, no others are accidentally broken.

Half of the $74,000 went to removing the ledge, Avgerinos said.

He called the 3 percent contingency-against-remaining-construction-costs “extremely reasonable” for a project the size of the Town Hall renovation.

“Three percent is really a small amount and we are extremely pleased and hope to continue like that, because most of the unknown factors have been covered,” Avgerinos said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *