Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 29, 2012

Sandy wreaks havoc on town projects

Costs expected to rise

As officials tally up a multi-million dollar budget deficit in the Bancroft Elementary School construction project, recovery from Hurricane Sandy is likely to put a huge budget strain on all town projects for the coming year.

How and why are not a mystery, especially for those in the insurance industry, like Town Moderator Sheila Doherty.

“The insurance industry, as they’re sitting down right now, they’re looking at the costs of the losses that were incurred because of Hurricane Sandy, the amount of physical property damage that was sustained,” Doherty, president of Doherty Insurance, said. “They’re projecting in their loss projections that the building material costs will be somewhere between 20 and 30 percent higher.”

The budget shortfall facing the School Building Committee could come out around $5 million once the project is done. A year’s delay timed with economic improvement and an improving construction contractor environment are credited for the increase.

But the problem facing that project is just one possible shortfall among many, according to Maria Maggio, acting director of Plant and Facilities.

“Construction is really increasing privately and publicly,” Maggio said. “In the last year or so, it just kind of exploded. The storm’s going to make it even worse.”

The cost explosion will likely last 12 to 18 months, Doherty said.

That may affect these projects:

TOWN YARD: Efforts to rebuild or relocate the town’s municipal facilities are still brewing at nearly every regular Board of Selectmen meeting. This past year, residents narrowly rejected an $18.5 million plan to put the facility on Campanelli Drive.

BALLARDVALE FIRE STATION: The project is “a tenth of the size” of the $44.5 million Bancroft Elementary School project, but it could still be affected by cost increases since it still relies on building materials that are going to be in short supply.

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