Ad hoc working group on building plans for the future of Newtown
The ad hoc Newtown Building Inventory and Planning Working Group was formed earlier this year with the primary purpose of identifying long-term capital improvements that various city councils may need to consider in the future.
“We’re trying to find out what various boards will face for capital improvements,” said Public Works Manager Fred Hurley. The Newtown Bee July 30.
Part of identifying capital improvements, Hurley said, is trying to develop a data feed from the town’s maintenance records. By analyzing maintenance records, the working group hopes to get an “earlier indication” when mechanical systems in buildings may need to be replaced, by analyzing the date to determine how the systems “are wearing out and how they are”. need help ”.
This information can help city boards and commissions plan where projects can fit into the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CAP).
Hurley said data collection is a work in progress and they are currently “building up the spine.”
“We’re not at the point where we’ve finished our investigation or made projections,” said Hurley. “An important point that we are still in the process of determining is how to inject the maintenance records in a meaningful way for mechanical planning. “
Task Force Chairman Ned Simpson said The bee that when he was first elected to the Finance Council, looking at the city’s CIP, he saw references to roofs, parking lots, air handling units and boilers, among other items essential, and with his previous experience as an administrator in a number of the local hospitals, felt that there should be an inventory to help the city plan for the future.
Creation of an inventory
Simpson recalled that an inventory had been made in the city in 2010, but that it focused almost exclusively on school buildings. Last year, when First Selectman Dan Rosenthal discussed expanding the horizons of the CIP from five to ten years, Simpson said he thought it would be “good if the city had an updated inventory.” .
The working group was formed to create it.
Figuring out how to create the inventory in a user-friendly and easy-to-update format has been key to the task force’s efforts, and Simpson said task force member Graham Clifford, who has a background in technology from the information, developed a prototype.
“We’re now at the point where we have a data model,” Simpson said. “We want to make maintenance more efficient in order to avoid emergencies.
According to the group’s building inventory data design plan, its goal is to “put in place a data management system that can help identify the need for future financing (i.e. CIP and capital non-recurring). This gives the city time to plan the bond and / or put money into the one-time capital account for replacement and / or major repairs and maintenance. For both, having a useful inventory including all (main) components managed by the city and BOE will help with overall planning, including how to sequence projects.
Simpson said the task force’s review of the data showed Newtown experienced a “construction boom” between the 1950s and the 1980s.
Some of the projects they see as examples in their planning include the installation of a gas boiler and LED lighting at Reed Middle School, window modifications at Middle Gate Elementary School and the installation of a new elevator at Hawley Elementary School.
Long-term planning is especially important for water and sewer services, as volatility in spending can lead to volatility in water prices.
“We are trying to bring in as much fiscal stability as possible so that we can have more stable prices for users,” Hurley said. “We try to anticipate unusual income and expenses. Water and sewage in particular can have very large fluctuations in both.
As an example, Hurley mentioned that the Danbury plant, where the Hawleyville effluent is treated, is planning a $ 100 million plant upgrade. Since Hawleyville accounts for 1% of the throughput of this plant, it is responsible for 1% of the cost of upgrading the plant, or roughly $ 1 million.
“Everyone [in the workgroup] is on the same page, ”Simpson said. “If we know what to expect, we can plan for it and maximize profitability. “
Simpson said the engineers who make up the task force were able to share ideas on when projects need to be done and what needs to be done. With a group of engineers working together, he said, the projects were “better understood and more creative.”
Engineers on the task force include Clifford, managing director and chief information officer, First Manhattan Co; Allen Adriani, PE, senior engineer and program manager, Airgas; David Schill, PE, vice-president, Mohawk Northeast; and Zach Marchetti, PE, engineer / diver at Marchetti Consulting.
“I want to commend the members for their time, talent and expertise,” said Simpson, who also didn’t want to diminish contributions from city staff like Hurley and City Engineer Ronald Bolmer. “Everyone has been very busy, very knowledgeable and contributed a lot. “
In a meeting on July 14, the working group visited the CH stand library from the basement to the attic, as well as the library property. Members of the working group shared stories related to the challenges of having, finding and preserving designs and documentation of facilities.
The group agreed that the city should digitize facility documentation, which can be done inexpensively with available software.
Clifford stressed that the data structure for indexing and describing the scanned images must be thought out to avoid a project that produces thousands of images that cannot be searchable. An image database can and should be linked to the building inventory.
In previous meetings, the group has met at the town garage and at Reed Middle School.
Simpson said there was “good overlap” between the task force and the Sustainable Energy Commission, which also visited the buildings.
“We should be able to compare the ratings,” Simpson said.
The group planned to meet at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Wednesday August 4. The next scheduled meeting will be Wednesday August 11. The working group met for the first time in March of this year and meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.
Journalist Jim Taylor can be reached at [email protected]
Newtown Building Inventory and Planning Ad Hoc Working Group Chair Ned Simpson