Phase 1 FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for the Subcommittee
Updated July 8, 2014

May I obtain a list of the pre-bid meeting attendees?
The information has been listed on the WHS Renovation Building Project page

In reviewing the WOCSD website and Building Committee Minutes these are some of the questions I have as a taxpayer and resident of Wells. 

1. What provisions are in place to represent the town’s best interest in terms of independent oversight outside of the direct parties involved i.e. engineering and construction/contractor firm(s) of the project? 
2. What experience does the group or person have with projects like this? 
3. What will this person or group be tracking to ensure the project is being following in accordance with; (A) contractual provisions, (B) schedule, (C) cost, (D) permitting/licensing, (E) building codes and (F) other applicable data points such as key performance indicators, milestones, over-runs, change orders, bonuses and penalties and unforeseen issues associated with construction projects of this size and nature.
4. What project scheduling program(s)/software (i.e. Microsoft Project or Primavera) will be used to ensure project is being tracked for contractual and cost standpoints. 
5. What provisions does the town have in place to ensure applicable parties involved in the project are qualified to perform the various scope(s) of work associated with the project?
6. Is the town considering the project a turnkey or independent scope based contract(s) with multi vendors/contractors approach with general contractor oversight and management? 
7. I assume at this point the town has ascertained the services of a reputable design-engineering firm to develop conceptual or other designs for the project? If so, what provisions are in place to protect the town from any mistakes/liabilities the firm could potentially make that may result in cost overruns for the town and the project? 
8. Are contractual indemnities in place for the engineering firm in the event that issue(s) develop? 
9. What process does the town have in place to seek an appropriate construction company for the project? 
10. What are the bond thresholds and how are they tied to scheduled key performance indicators and milestones of the project? 
11. Will there be due-diligence performed on approved construction companies and who will perform the due-diligence on behalf of the towns best interest(s)? 
12. Who will be handling the permitting, and licensing of the project? 
13. Will there be an independent tracking of cost(s) and project controls for the project to ensure the contractor(s) are not misappropriating or handling project funds? 
14. Who will develop the material takeoffs or master list of components, structures and systems for the project? 
15. Will the town take advantage of demolition assets such as scrap metal, copper and other debris commodities? This should be a separate line item of asset recovery in the contractors contract to the project and cost benefit consideration. 
16. What potential mixed wastes or hazardous materials will be encountered during the project? i.e., if asbestos mastics on foundation(s) what provisions are in place for potential remediation?


Here are the answers to your questions:

1, 2, and 3- A qualified clerk of the works working directly for the District.

4- The contract will require a construction scheduling software; such as Primavera, to track both the activities and the schedule of values.

5- The school committee through recommendations from the building committee willdetermine qualifying criteria and the ME BGS is a resource for all school construction projects.  All contractors and suppliers will be evaluated for their experience and ability.

6- The District is requiring a General Contractor contract for all construction.  A second contract will be issued for Furniture and equipment, and a third contract for IT / AV. The District’s architect and engineers will administer each contract to ensure a turn key result.  

7- The District has been working with a reputable architect and team of engineers who specialize in school design.  Their contract has been reviewed by the ME BGS and includes all the necessary performance requirements and safe-guards. 

8- The state has standard contract language from the BGS governing school construction projects 

9- see 5

10- Payment and Performance bonds will be required from the General Contractor in the full amount of their bid price.

11- see 5

12- Permits are the owner’s responsibility. Our architect and engineers will prepare all permitting documentation in cooperation with local and State agencies.

13- Our architect, engineers, and clerk will monitor the performance and monthly payments to ensure all funds are expended properly.  The District will make payments based on these three independent evaluations.

14- The architect provides full plans and specs - as-builts after completion 

15- That will be part of the bid process, demo contractors know what they can get for scrap and that affects their bid

16- The District have AHERA documents that define materials contained in the building; and all will be remediated per fed law


What will you do if voters reject the bond question?  If the bond does not pass, the WOCSD will still need to fix the underlying infrastructure issues, at an early estimate of $5 to $8M, which will occur piecemeal through the annual operating budget, most likely in a less fiscally efficient manner. By investing in these renovations, we address all outstanding infrastructure issues and provide our students with a modern learning facility

Have you considered solar to offset energy needs? Yes.  Daylight harvesting, passive solar heating, solar hot water, and photovoltaics have been considered.  Daylight harvesting,  solar hot water and passive solar heating strategies are easy decide at the conceptual level and will be used to reduce energy.  Photovoltaics are systems that rely on engineering the electrical needs in coordination with the local utility company; meaning the lower electrical demand, the higher the return on investment.  This engineering process to reduce the school's electrical needs and offset the utility needs with photovoltaics  will take place after the vote on November 5th and before construction starts in August 2014.  The current design incorporates the infrastructure to support each solar renewable energy system.

A new school sounds pretty exciting. I agree, the existing one needs improvements. I'm curious, what is the cost per square foot on this new school? 
For high school construction the average cost was $158/sq ft.
Regardless of what "other schools are doing", would a more basic design would suffice? 
Thanks for this forum. 

The Reed and Means construction average of $158 per sqft is a national average. 

Regional data for New England school construction shows an average of $303. per sqft. page CR12

The total project cost for the Wells-Ogunquit High School Renovation is $223 per sqft. As a basis for comparison in Maine, please consider:

$ 251 / SF = Farmington (bid in 2009; completed in 2011)
$ 282 /SF = Hampden (bid in 2008; completed in 2010)
$ 246 / SF = Ashland (bid in 2007; completed in 2009)
$ 208 / SF = Thorndike (bid in 2005; completed in 2007)
$ 245 / SF = Vinalhaven (bid in 2000; completed in 2003)

The school committee and building committee vetted many different options. This project was seen as a combination of several of the options. It provides for a new academic wing (built while the students are in the existing wing) and renovates the existing gymnasium, performing arts center, and cafeteria. 

How many students are in the school? As of October 4th, Wells High School has 450 students.

Have any contractors been awarded the bid? If yes, who?
The project still needs to be confirmed at the November Referendum and with a successful vote the final design will be developed by the architects before any contractors are awarded the bid.

Are there any drawings or images of what the new building facade will look like?
Yes, there are renderings on the district website. Final design and material selection etc. would occur if the construction bond passes on Nov 5th.

Have you considered using a heating system that is "future proof" and can run on more than one type of fuel? For example, a system that could run on natural gas or wood pellets with only minor modifications? Wood pellets are currently the least-expensive fuel source in Maine (even cheaper than natural gas).
We have looked into several energy related issues during our committee discussions. Natural gas provides the best value at this time and for the foreseeable future. Natural gas would also be brought to the other schools and be available for the town hall and possibly library to take advantage of. Multi-fuel is an option as long as you are talking different liquid/gas fuel types. Wood pellet/chip boilers require significant up-front costs which were not budgeted in the proposal.

Have you considered geothermal for heating/hot water/air conditioning?
The significant up-front cost for geo-thermal is not in the project budget but by using a liquid hot water and chilled beam design it could be brought on line at a later date if viable.

Will larger windows and more natural light be incorporated in the project? 
One of the best things about the 1937 building is the huge windows that allow in tons of sunlight, and fresh air during the warm months. The 1977 building is pretty much the opposite of that.
Natural light is an integral part of the design model. Not only does it make for a more atheistically pleasing environment, proper daylight use can decrease lighting costs

Will additional space/seating be added to the Olenn Auditorium?
The planned renovation and expansion will have roughly 450 seats.

Why are you building "out" rather than "up"?  The existing building was not designed for added stories - the third story added decades ago was the structural limit. This along with the overall education goals drove the proposed design.

Will a fire sprinkler system be added to the renovated areas of the building?  Yes. The building will be fully covered by sprinklers and the life safety systems will meet current codes.

With enrollment projected to remain flat or even decline in the coming decades, why are you adding classroom space?   A slightly larger building is needed for several reasons. 

Many current spaces fall below the state recommended guidelines for space per student. 

Current education methods emphasize differentiated instruction as well as collaborative projects, both of these require more flexible spaces.

 The renewed school will also have an open commons area which is not only something the students are proponents of but also allows clear sight lines for staff as they oversee the school.

Are the art rooms larger than the current spaces?Yes, the new art room will be larger. It is more an artists’ suite of classrooms.  It will serve as a major improvement for teaching of the arts.   

What will you do with the current weight room? It will become a multipurpose athletic area used for many needs, including wrestling, cheering, yoga, and other potential uses.  

What is the scope of work? What % is new?  What % is renovated? A brand new 81,000 square foot academic building will be constructed.  We will also renovate the gym, performing arts center, cafeteria, and library.   

What is the total project cost?  Can you break down the budget to categories?The total budgeted amount is $26.85 million dollars.    

When do we vote? November 2013

When will construction start? August, 2014

When will construction finish?24 months of phased construction. The phasing of the project could determine the end date.  September, 2016 is a the target completion date.   

What is a "Commons"? A Commons is an area where all students can gather which will be clustered use space including: cafeteria, library, work stations, and lockers.   

What can I do to help?Volunteer to serve on a sub-committee.  We have major needs in Communication and Public Relations right now. In the future, we will need volunteers for specific building components.  

Are you including energy saving measures in the renovation? Yes!  The new construction will be far more energy efficient than the current building.  

What is the possibility of using natural gas?  We are currently engaged in meetings with Unitil where we are trying to make this happen.  

Are you open to renewable forms of energy?  YES! We are very interested in those renewable forms of energy which return on the initial investment.  We have conducted studies of the current energy usage, determined future energy usage in the new facility, and are in the process of planning for the new building.  

Have you explored grants for green technology?  As of now,  we have not.   But we do intend to investigate measures which can reduce the cost to local taxpayers.   

Can you clearly explain how you plan to build and utilize vocational spaces? The new concept design will incorporate a new space for vocational studies.  It will be centrally located near Math and Science classrooms.  The idea is to create a Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics and a STEM + Arts = STEAM approach to the vocational program at WHS.

Will you have an energy subcommittee? Safety subcommittee? Following the bond vote,  specific subcommittees will be established to further examine critical areas.  

What if we grow larger?  How would you expand? The new building will have a capacity of 450 to a bubble of 475.  The projected enrollment for 2021 is 440.  The design allows for an addition off the southeast portion of the new academic wing.   

How do you plan to address the parking issues present on the entire campus? There will be additional parking with the re-design of the current parking lot.  There is a plan for additional parking in the the current academic wing/athletic fields area. (See diagram) 

Where will the bus loop be located? The new bus loop will be near the location of the current academic wing.  It will be located west of the new academic addition.  (See Diagram)

 Why are you demolishing the current academic wing? The $4,500,000 cost to renovate the academic portion of the building is not commensurate with the value of the completed space. 

 When will it be removed?  Why not until the end of the project?  The academic wing will be removed after the new construction is complete.  We can save roughly $500,000 by not leasing portable classrooms during construction.   

 How will you use the space created by demolishing the current academic area?The new space will become part of the new bus loop, new fire lane, dedicated access to the performing arts center, and  an outdoor space for student learning/seating for lunch.
 After the bond is approved, the building committee will make final plans for exterior spaces.  

Updated April 24, 2013

When is the next building committee meeting?  Still to be determined, due to school committee meetings occurring on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in the month of April.

Is there a building committee meeting tonight (Wednesday, April 24th)?  The School Committee has a scheduled meeting for that date so there will not be a building committee meeting tonight.