Cost of Cheshire concession stand upgrades rises

CHESHIRE — The Public Building Commission’s concession stand committee unanimously passed a resolution deeming the $350,000 budgeted to redo the high school stadium concession stand and bathrooms to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act as “totally inadequate,” in the words of committee member Edward Hill.

Members unanimously passed a second motion saying a $567,000 design is sufficient for the project. The commission will convey the report to the Town Council.

Architect Michael Stein of Norwalk-based Stein & Troost presented four blueprints to the committee, as well as a reworked 14,000-square-foot redesign of the high school field house project.

He also said that for $100,000, the existing concession and bathroom could be “cleaned up a little bit,” with the bathrooms made code compliant and the concession area improved. This option would require reducing the number of toilets in the women’s restrooms from three to two. Committee member Mark Nash called it the “band-aid” approach.

Stein recommends building a new facility rather than renovating the existing concession stand and lavatories. The four design plans he presented that involve a new structure—which he identified as Schemes A, B, C and D — provide for areas ranging from 765 to 1,508 square feet with cost ranges from $305,000 to $567,000.

Stein said the first and second plan, while within budget, would add minimal space to the existing facility. Committee members agreed with commission chairman John Purtill that these proposals were “non-starters,” the first because it has only 108 square feet for lavatories and the second because it only offers 10 square feet of storage. The school currently stores items for athletics, band, theater and graduation in nine portable trailers.

Unlike the first two schemes, members didn’t outright reject the third, which furnishes 430, 340, and 320 square feet for bathrooms, the concession area, and storage. However, they expressed strong preference for the fourth design, which provides for 560, 340, and 330 square feet for those areas.

Nash observed that, similar to the concession stand project, costs for renovations to the boys locker room were also underestimated and are now projected to be about $750,000 — $225,000 more than anticipated. He said the combined price tags of the projects are over $1.3 million, only $700,000 less than the field house proposal, which was set aside after the council did not include it in the capital appropriations budget in August.

The field house plan provided for the locker room, concession stand, restrooms and storage, along with a press box and a regrading of the area to make it code-compliant, as well as other enhancements.

However, Stein said the $2 million figure attached to the field house was also an underestimate. He reviewed the initial plans for the structure and determined the facility would need to be about 14,000 square feet and would cost $4.5 million if it incorporated everything on Cheshire’s original “wish list” for the project. He also recommends moving its location near the baseball field.

Nash labeled the new field house plan “Scheme E,” calling it “the whole concept” because it simultaneously addresses all the issues under discussion. “It’s everything we need,” he said.

“There’s one thing you don’t have, and that’s $4 million,” Purtill said.

The committee discussed the possibility of building some components of the field house initially and adding on to it later in order to reduce the upfront costs. Members said they supported the project whether it is phased in or completed all at once.

Nash said the committee will ask the Board of Education for extra money to pay Stein to produce design schematics for the new version of the field house plan. “At least that way we’ve done our due diligence,” he said. (203) 317-2242 Twitter: @JeffGebeauRJ

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