Architectural plan for Waterbury complex rebuild is advanced
MONTPELIER — On Thursday, the Joint Fiscal Committee signed off on the Modified Option B plan for rebuilding the Waterbury state office complex.
The plan was chosen from several options the Burlington-based architecture firm Freeman French Freeman presented in March through a contract with the state.
Agency of Administration Deputy Secretary Michael Clasen said the committee’s action moves the process along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which earlier this summer cast doubt on how much Tropical Storm Irene funding the state might be eligible for at the complex.
“I think it helps us in that ... it’s more definitive in what our plans are,” Clasen said after the meeting. “I don’t know if it’s going to result in any necessarily additional funding, but it just provides more clarity in the whole process.”
The current project cost presented Thursday was under $125 million. The project will provide space for 974 occupants in addition to Public Safety Department personnel who have remained at the complex. Prior to Tropical Storm Irene, the complex had approximately 1,500 workers, and 1,200 worked there regularly.
Fifteen or more buildings could be demolished as part of the project.
While uncertainty still remains over how much money FEMA will provide to the state, which could have implications on the state budget, Clasen noted several measures of progress in determining that funding eligibility for the Waterbury state office complex and Vermont State Hospital.
The state learned last week that two buildings at the Waterbury state office complex are eligible for FEMA funding for mitigation efforts to withstand the 500-year floodplain threshold, not just the 100-year floodplain level, Clasen said.
The state plans to demolish both buildings, but the increased threshold means more money for the state.
The buildings are the Brooks Building and an annex building, also known as the Old Storehouse. Clasen also said after the meeting the state hopes that the Vermont Agriculture Laboratories, or Ag Lab, and heating plant will also be eligible for 500-year floodplain mitigation efforts.
Almost all of the base repair project worksheets at the complex are completed, part of a process to ensure the state can maximize insurance money and FEMA funding, Clasen said.
On Thursday morning, state officials also learned an environmental and historic preservation review passed for the proposed 25-bed state psychiatric hospital.
“There was no finding of significant impact,” he said, “which allows the state to proceed with moving ahead at the Berlin site for the Vermont State Hospital.”
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