ROCKPORT — The Rockport Select Board approved Phi Builders & Architects as the owner’s representative for the Rockport Public Library building project July 23, after a workshop with the nonvoting taxpayers adjourned.
Phi, based in Rockport, was selected by Rockport Library Design Team, which interviewed four candidates July 23 for the owner’s representative contract. The design team includes architect Steve Smith, Justin Smith, Will Gartley, Ben Blackmon, Anne Filley, Rick Bates, Doug Cole and Ken McKinley.
The other three candidates interviewed by the library’s design team were Tom Albertson, Joe Richardi and MaryBeth Vankeuren.
The owner’s representative will represent the town and the Rockport taxpayers during the design and construction process of a new library, if the project is approved by voters in November.
According to Town Manager Rick Bates, the town has budgeted $75.50 per hour to compensate Phi, for 10 hours a week for approximately 10 weeks.
Select Board Chairman Doug Cole and board members Jeff Hamilton and Mark Kelley were the only Select Board members present at the meeting, so the vote to finalize the selection of Phi as the owner’s representative was required to be unanimous.
Cole proposed a motion to approve Phi, but Hamilton and Kelley expressed concerns that Phi would have an unfair advantage over the other construction candidates during the bidding process, since they would be present at all of the design meetings.
Hamilton and Kelley recommended that the motion to approve Phi be amended to include that all future meetings of the design team and owner’s representative be advertised to the public.
“If Phi Builders is going to be considered as the actual builder of the library, we need to make sure there is not unfair or undue advantage to that organization that would provide them with an advantage over anyone else bidding for the project,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton amended the motion to include the language “that the town would publicly advertise and released meetings including design team meetings such that others have the opportunity to attend.”
On July 26, Bates released the following statement with an update that Phi will only serve as the owner’s representative and not as the project’s builder.
“As previously reported, the Rockport Select Board had approved Rockport-based Phi Builders & Architects to serve as the owner's representative for the Rockport Public Library, which is proposed to be built at 1 Limerock Street. After further consideration, it became clear that if Phi were to be the owner’s representative for the project, the potential existed to create an unfair advantage during the bidding process following a November vote approving the bond,” said Bates in the release.
“Neither the town nor Phi wanted that perception. Instead, both parties agreed that Phi will not bid on the project as they had originally intended and will act only as the owner’s representative for the project in assisting the town.”
Bates added that he continues to be very excited by the support of the community and expects to have an update with more detailed information on the project for Rockport residents sometime within the next four weeks.
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