The on Tuesday voted unanimously to recommend a tract of land off Tabor Drive for the construction of a new Department of Public Works.
The committee has worked since the fall of 2010 on the site selection, at first considering seven sites before winnowing it down to two—the site, which the town of Branford seized by eminent domain in 2004, and a private property at 20 Northeast Industrial Road.
The committee proceeded on studies prepared by the Foxboro, Mass.-based engineering consulting firm of Weston & Sampson.
“There’s twice the space. It’s not as cramped,” said Director and building committee member Art Baker of the site by Tabor Drive. He noted that the Tabor Drive site would provide 10 acres of space versus five acres at the site on Northeast Industrial Road.
Baker noted that the location for the diesel fuel pump used by first responder vehicles would exist outside the gate of the facility if it were sited by Tabor Drive, thus making it easier for the first responder vehicles to refuel.
“They come and go at all hours of the night,” he said.
Also working in favor of the Tabor Drive site, according to Baker, is the fact that the Industrial Road site is on a flood plain.
“A 100-year storm would come up to the corner of the building,” Baker said.
Although concerning contamination on the Tabor Drive property, Baker noted that the Northeast Industrial Road site has known contamination, whereas concern on the Tabor Drive site has centered on potential contamination.
Baker noted that the costs for the new DPW building that Branford plans to build are what he termed middle-of-the-road for DPW buildings that are going up today. Those costs range from $180 per square foot to $260 per square foot.
The building planned to headquarter the DPW in Branford – down from an initial 46,000 square feet to 34,000 square feet – would cost $220 per square foot, Baker said.
If constructed at Tabor Drive, the entire cost of the project would fall just under $10 million. The $1.25 million cost of the Industrial Road property would add to that.
Baker touted the features of the DPW facility that the , such as a dedicated maintenance space for the DPW vehicles, a wash space and a permanent salt shed.
He said the committee hoped to present its decision and the findings on the two sites at the Board of Selectman meeting January 18, with consideration by the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting to follow.
“I‘d like to be optimistic and say we could break ground on this project by the end of 2012,” Baker said.
Kurt Treiber, who chaired the building committee, was not available for comment.