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Huntington revokes contract with architects of community center

Officials said the engineering firm they hired to design the renovation of the former armory in Huntington Station was "running up fees."

The former armory in Huntington Station will be

The former armory in Huntington Station will be renovated into the James D. Conte Community Center. Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

The Huntington Town Board has revoked its agreement with the architectural and engineering firm hired for the James D. Conte Community Center in Huntington Station for charging excess fees, officials said.

Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said terminating the agreement with Bohemia-based DCAK-MSA Architectural and Engineering PC,  d/b/a Savik and Murray, will help save money because the firm was billing the town for too many additional fees and did not advance the project beyond conceptual design.

Patchogue-based BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers PC will replace them.

“The old architect was running up fees,” Lupinacci said. “When the architect was originally chosen it was the best in terms of the bid process, but then they wanted to charge us all of these overrun fees.”

A man who answered the phone at Savik and Murray’s Bohemia office Friday afternoon declined to comment.

The town board in December 2016 authorized a $603,000 contract with Savik and Murray for professional services regarding the renovation of the former armory at 100 E. Fifth St. The contract covered conceptual design, permitting, contract documents, construction inspection and monitoring. Lupinacci said about half of the orginal contract fee has been paid to Savik and Murray.

Town officials have budgeted $10 million to construct the center, which is named for the late assemblyman who served the hamlet for 24 years. Plans for the facility include a full-size indoor basketball court and meeting rooms.

Lupinacci said in May, Savik and Murray submitted a supplemental fee request for $850,000 raising its fee to $1.453 million. He said also of concern was that all the features in the existing rendering put the project at $14.2 million, so with fees the project would come in at $15.5 million.  He said he expects with BBS's experience in municipal and school construction projects and understanding of industry trends to get a more cost-effective project completed.  

“We expect to receive a modified plan from BBS ... scaling the construction back and bringing the project back down to the $9 to $10 million range,” Lupinacci said.

The town's 2018 capital budget allots $3.75 million for the first phase of construction of the building. Funds to pay for the project include bonding, a $1.5 million state grant and a $50,000 grant received this year under the State and Municipal Facilities Capital Program.

The town approved a $1.3 million bond in 2017 for the project. A $13.5 million bond resolution was pulled in June for fact gathering, Lupinacci said.

“There were serious questions to see how we can make the best community center possible while still keeping the price in line,” Lupinacci said. “We want to make sure we get the most bang for the buck.” 

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