The Town of Berlin entered into an agreement circa April 2019 with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services related to a $750,000 grant from the State of Connecticut to do a comprehensive study and to prepare preliminary design plans for a new Community and Senior Center.
With the Berlin Town Charter dictating the process of planning and designing a new Community and Senior Center, the Commission on Aging and the Parks & Recreation Commission each approved a “Statement of Need” that defined the general parameters of the facility that is needed. These Statements were then referred to the Town Council. Before the Statements of Need for the Community and Senior Center were finalized, a public input process was undertaken including three listening sessions to hear what the residents desired in a Community and Senior Center.
The Town Council approved the Statements of Need for the project on January 8, 2019 and referred the project to the Public Building Commission (PBC). The PBC’s role at this point in the planning process was to oversee the work of selecting and managing the consulting team and to develop a plan and preliminary cost estimate for the project. Upon completion of this work, the PBC prepared a report for Town Council review, requesting funding for further planning and construction of the facility. (If Town funding participation for the construction of the facility exceeds five million dollars, a local referendum is required.)
The PBC developed an overall scope of work for the study and issued a request for proposals and qualifications on August 30, 2019. The PBC selected Quisenberry Arcari Malik, LLC (QA+M Architecture) as the best-qualified firm. A contract was signed with QA+M Architecture in April 2020 to execute a pre-referendum study and post-referendum design-build documentation. The pre-referendum work started in May of 2020. An outline of that work is below:
QA+M Architecture's approach to the pre-referendum study phase of the work included the following major steps:
1. Review Statements of Need and establish a detailed building program/size
2. Prepare preliminary building design/footprint for site evaluation
3. Review the existing available building sites, rate and rank said sites, and make a formal recommendation regarding site selection
4. Prepare detailed concept designs for the selected site
5. Hold public information meetings to solicit input/feedback regarding the designs and project approach
6. Prepare revised concept designs based on feedback
7. Prepare professional cost estimate for the proposed project
8. Hold second-round public information meetings
9. Revise the concepts and costing to reflect public and town feedback
10. Prepare the documents for submission to referendum
The first four steps of the study have been completed and the fifth step is underway. Information meetings with numerous commissions and town council have been held. Public information meeting dates will be announced in January 2021.