Emergency services building gets APA approval

TUPPER LAKE – The state Adirondack Park Agency has issued a project permit for the new emergency services building here.

During Monday’s village board meeting, Mayor Paul Maroun said construction could move forward as long as the state Department of Environmental Conservation approves.

Sean Foran, whose company Hueber Breuer is under contract with the village to manage the project, told the Enterprise that DEC approval is probably on its way.

“Right now our initial walk with the DEC on the site didn’t present any issues, so we’re not anticipating any problems,” Foran said. “That’s what we’re really talking about – a final environmental review and approval – and right now that seems to be going very well.”

The building is set to house the fire and police departments, both of which currently have problematic facilities.

Even with DEC approval, the project will still be in limbo. Foran is waiting for $1.3 million in state and federal grants to come through, which would help offset the project’s estimated total cost of $4.5 million.

Last spring, village taxpayers voted to let the village borrow the $3.2 million difference.

“We’re still on hold with the grant process for Tupper Lake, but we are still getting positive feedback from Washington and Albany that funding will be in place for the spring,” Foran said. “We’re hoping to get it resolved in the next 30 days.”

During the initial planning process, Foran had hoped construction would be ready to begin by Aug. 1 in order to have a roof on the building by this winter. He had projected it would be finished by June 2014.

If the money is secured, Foran said the 48-week building process could now start as soon as April 1.

“We’ve actually prepped the site by stockpiling snow on it to insulate the ground up there,” Foran said. “As soon as frost is out of the ground, we can dig.”

Bids for the project were opened in August. The village received about 30 bids on four areas of the project; general contracting, electrical, plumbing and fire, and mechanical.

A bidder for the project hasn’t been approved yet, but the apparent low bidder for construction is Bette and Cring LLC of Latham, with a Watertown office. The company’s base bid was $1.89 million. They also submitted a bid that would include an extended community room, costing $1.96 million.

Two companies came in as low bidders on the plumbing and fire: Perras Excavating out of Massena and Burns Brothers Contractors from Syracuse. Both their bids came in around $225,000.

Empire NorthEast from Gouverneur came in with the low bid on electric work at $185,500, and J. Hogan Refrigeration and Mechanical, out of Peru, bid the lowest – $177,777 – on the project’s mechanical work.

The village board doesn’t plan to award any bids until grant funding is assured.