North Providence's $1 million water tank set to go into the ground

North Providence's $1 million water tank set to go into the ground

Andrew Barkley, of RGB, center, explains the progress of site work at the site of the future North Providence Public Safety Complex on Mineral Spring Avenue, across from North Providence High School, to North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi, right. They are looking over the giant hole that will soon hold a million-gallon tank to catch storm runoff on the site. At left is Chief of Police David Tikoian. (Breeze photos by Ethan Shorey)
Police chief closely monitoring costs of new public safety complex

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Drivers along Mineral Spring Avenue can’t miss the gaping hole in the ground across from North Providence High School.

The hole, measuring more than 200 feet long and some 16 feet deep, will soon contain the town’s new $1 million underground water storage tank, designed to hold all water runoff from a planned new public safety complex and to slowly allow it back into the sewer system.

The tank, coming in 296 pieces, will be wrapped in a membrane “like an envelope,” said Chief of Police David Tikoian, to keep groundwater out while allowing gradual emptying over several days, negating any negative impact to the immediate area.

“It’s a considerable amount of money that no one’s ever going to see,” said Tikoian, but it will be worth it in the long run.

By putting the tank work out to bid as part of site work to get the 8-acre property “pad ready” for a new safety complex, the town is saving significant money on both the site work and, potentially, on construction of the complex, said Tikoian.

He and Mayor Charles Lombardi said by getting the $2.5 million in site work done by J.R. Vinagro Corp., of Johnston, the project is much more attractive to would-be contractors, meaning instead of two or three interested companies, the town will likely have quite a few seeking the job.

More competitive bidding, particularly at a slow time of year for construction companies, typically means better prices, they said.

If officials hadn’t bid out the site work separately, a company likely would have outsourced the work anyway at a higher cost to the town, said Tikoian. Since Vinagro has a contract with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp., the company isn’t charging the town extra for materials brought to the state landfill. Rock excavated on site is being ground up into varying sizes, allowing workers to use it to develop the site for the tank and other parts of the project as well.

Vinagro will leave about 15,000 cubic yards on site to be used for future development of the safety complex, a further savings to the town, said Lombardi. Other materials will be brought to the Department of Public Works for use on other projects around town.

Tikoian said he’s also found about $600,000 worth of savings within the plans for the safety complex, all part of his goal to bring the project in under an estimated $27 million cost. Among the budgeted items removed from plans were a screen to separate community meetings and municipal court proceedings, at a cost of some $160,000. Since municipal court only meets twice a month, on Mondays, officials can simply schedule community meetings for other times, he said. Also taken out of plans was structural steel to accommodate a possible indoor firing range, said the chief, since the town already funded a joint firing range in Johnston.

“We don’t need that,” said Tikoian.

Items such as canopies for outdoor walkways were also removed, he said, since the building doesn’t need them and they’d probably rust out in 20 years anyway.

Tikoian is estimating that the construction phase of the project will come in between $20 million and $25 million, but he is hoping to bring it in closer to $20 million. Other price tags on the project are the $2.5 million for the site work and $1.7 million for architect RGB.

According to RGB, the latest plans for the 59,000-square-foot safety complex are “reflective of a renewed spirit of interoperation,” which will be deepened as police and fire departments share operations in the new facility.

Andrew Barkley, owner’s project manager with RGB, said the “pad ready” site option was sought due to the extensive rock and debris on the property, much of which was placed there from the Lowe’s project up the street. By bidding out the construction work separately, it mitigates the risk of unexpected costs associated with site work, he said.

According to Tikoian, there have been almost no change-orders due to unanticipated problems during site work. Intense cold weather and a gas line running through the site where the underground water tank will be installed were the only two significant issues prompting delays, he said, and neither is expected to cost much money.

The site work was intended to be done by March, but will now likely be completed by the end of April, said Tikoian.

“The good news is, no one’s throwing us out of our facility,” he said, smiling.

He commended Vinagro for a job well done to this point, noting that he saw four trucks full of material leaving the site between 7 and 7:10 a.m. Monday.

By February, officials expect to have a bid advertised for building construction, the “nuts and bolts” of the project and the largest expenditure, said Tikoian.

The hole at the public safety complex site, measuring more than 200 feet long and 16 feet deep, will soon contain a giant tank designed to hold water and then slowly release it back into the town’s drain system.
Andrew Barkley of architect RGB


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