Owner’s representative hired for new Camden-Rockport Middle School construction

Posted:  Monday, August 14, 2017 - 6:00pm
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After interviewing three candidates Aug. 14, Camden-Rockport administrators and a few of the school board’s building committee selected an owner’s representative for the new middle school construction project.

School Administrative District 28 Superintendent Maria Libby said the interviewers had selected Mary Beth van Keuren, of Warren. Van Keuren had been an owner’s rep for SAD 28 in 2009 when Camden and Rockport expanded the former Montessori School on Route 90 and constructed the new Camden Rockport Elementary School.

She was chosen based on her experience, expertise, and references, said Libby.

“We felt that she was the strongest candidate,” she said. “The fact that folks here know her and have worked with her is definitely an added benefit of hiring her, but it wasn't the driving factor.”

Last week, Libby informed the SAD 28 School Board that she and SAD 28 Facilities Director Keith Rose had opened four responses to the district’s circulation of requests for proposals for the owner’s representative task.

“Her contract will not exceed $150,000 (total for the duration of the project), as that is what we have budgeted, but we have not worked out those details,” said Libby. “It may be less. We may do an hourly rate with an estimated number of hours not to exceed $150,000.”

The owner’s representative encapsulates a significant position in a large scale construction project, such as that which will take place on Knowlton Street in Camden. There, the existing Camden-Rockport Middle School buildings are destined for demolition and a new $26 million building, designed by Biddeford-based architects Oak Point Associates. 

“The four proposals all had had experience,” said Libby. “One of them was prohibitively costly, so  we will interview the other three. We have a committee consisting of two building committee members, one school board member, one superintendent, one facilities director.”

The owner’s rep is to represent SAD 28 and the Camden-Rockport taxpayers in the design and construction process.

SAD 28 has budgeted $150,000 to compensate the owner’s rep.

There will also be a clerk of the works, who will be paid $231,000. That person will represent the architect through the process, and be hired by the architect.

On Aug. 14, Libby, Rose, Dailey, and three members from the board-appointed Building Committee, George Abendroth, Rockport resident and engineer, and Will Gartley, Rockport resident and engineer, interviewed the three candidates.

Because the board does not typically approve contracted employees, said Libby, the appointment of Van Keuren does not require full board approval.

At the Aug. 9 school board meeting, the board also agreed to use Moors and Cabot, a Boston-based investment company, to bond out the $25 million of the $26 million new middle school building project.

That decision followed a brief presentation by School Board Chairman Matt Dailey about the option of going with a private municipal advisor or with the Maine Bond Bank.

The Maine Bond Bank provides funding to public entities through selling tax-exempt bonds while the privately-owned Moors and Cabot contracts with public entities, like school boards, and shops around for competitive interest rates.

Libby also reported that had hoped the contract with Oak Point would be ready to be signed as of Aug. 9 but details had yet to be finalized. The signing would be pushed to the SAD 28 board retreat that is to be held Aug. 21, 4-7:30 p.m. at the Farmstead Conference Center, adjacent to Flatbread Pizza in Rockport.

“They are definitely going to be our architects,” said Dailey.


August 15 Building Committee meeting

The Building Committee will convene from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in the Camden-Rockport Middle School Library to address an agenda that includes

1. Status Check

2. Riverwalk Update with Geoff Scott, chairman of the Camden-Rockport Pathways Committee
3. Progress Going Forward
4. Role of Committee! Committee Charter)
5. Set Meeting Dates

The Building Committee consists of:

Marcia Dietrich, Rockport resident, school board member, liaison to board

Anastasia Fisher, Rockport resident

John Lewis, Camden resident and Knowlton Street homeowner

Emily LeBlanc-McConnell, Camden resident

Elizabeth Noble, Camden resident and school board member

Marc Ratner, Camden resident and Camden Select Board member

Joe Russillo, Camden resident, architect

John Scholz, Camden resident, architect 

George Abendroth, Rockport resident and engineer

Will Gartley, Rockport resident and engineer

Owen Casas, Rockport Select Board liaison


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Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657