Editor’s note: Following is an analysis of the town’s “RFQs,” or Request for Quotes, for architectural design and construction services on the Long Lots Elementary School project written by engineer Yulee Aronson, and submitted for publication by the Westport Journal.

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On Feb. 5, RFQs for design and construction management services were issued by the Town of Westport.

  1. RFQs were issued as a single step hybrid of qualifications and price without stipulating selection criteria. This is not compliant with the state-mandated process.
  2. The $6.8 million appropriation voted on and approved by the LLSBC included pre-construction services only, the RFQs include services through the end of construction.
  3. As referenced documents RFQs includes October 2023 recommendation by LLSBC. These recommendations were already rejected by P&Z and replaced with new ones, not included for reference in the RFQs.

2022 Connecticut General Statutes Title 10 — Education and Culture Chapter 173, Public School Building Projects Section 10-287 — mandates that all orders and contracts for architectural and construction management services shall be awarded from a pool of not more than the four most responsible qualified proposers after a public selection process. 

Such process shall, at a minimum, involve requests for qualifications, followed by requests for proposals, including fees, from the proposers meeting the qualifications criteria of the request for qualifications process. Public advertisements shall be required in a newspaper having circulation in the town in which construction is to take place, except for school building projects for which the town or regional school district is using a state contract pursuant to subsection (d) of section 10-292. 

Following the qualification process, the awarding authority shall evaluate the proposals to determine the four most responsible qualified proposers using those criteria previously listed in the requests for qualifications and requests for proposals for selecting architectural services specific to the project or school district. Such evaluation criteria shall include due consideration of the proposer’s pricing for the project, experience with work of similar size and scope as required for the order or contract, organizational and team structure, including any subcontractors to be utilized by the proposer, for the order or contract, past performance data, including, but not limited to, adherence to project schedules and project budgets and the number of change orders for projects, the approach to the work required for the order or contract and documented contract oversight capabilities, and may include criteria specific to the project. 

Final selection by the awarding authority is limited to the pool of the four most responsible qualified proposers and shall include consideration of all criteria included within the request for proposals. As used in this subdivision, “most responsible qualified proposer” means the proposer who is qualified by the awarding authority when considering price and the factors necessary for faithful performance of the work based on the criteria and scope of work included in the request for proposals.

To remind everyone, this is what the P&Z 8-24 of Jan. 25 included:

  • A pre-application meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission should be requested by the LLSBC, as offered by the first selectwoman, to enhance collaboration and to continue the dialogue during the upcoming site plan design process.
  • Subject to subsequent design, engineering and site-related studies, the Westport Community Gardens should be reconstructed in generally the same location as currently exists as reflected on the developmental plan prepared by Svigals + Partners, dated Jan. 16, 2024, submitted as part of the §8-24 request.
  • A study of townwide field usage should be completed to complement the Sept. 22, 2023, report on potential town park usage for new athletic fields.
  • Consideration should be given to potential benefits associated with shifting the school building back on Terrace 3 to provide more distance from the street, to afford more accommodation for the bus loop and better mitigate potential traffic concerns.
  • A three-story school building should be further investigated, which would further reduce the proposed building footprint. The building’s lower level should be on grade and accessible to Terrace 4 so the building appears as 2-story when viewed from the street.
  • The buffer between the neighboring residential properties and proposed improvements should be maximized to reduce potential adverse impacts consistent with the special permit standards listed in §44-6 of the zoning regulations and goals contained in the 2017 Plan of Conservation and Development.
  • Artificial turf should be considered for the relocated athletic fields to reduce maintenance costs and enhance durability to help meet the increasing demand for field usage.
  • Environmental updates should be provided as part of any Site Plan application submission, as recommended by Planning and Zoning Department staff. Specifically, data should be supplied to confirm recommendations were adhered to (or will be) made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their Nov. 18, 2004, public health evaluation report on remediation efforts at the former Jaeger Farm property at 11 Hyde Lane, now known as Terrace 1 at 13 Hyde Lane.
  • Building and site plans once completed should be submitted for review by the Architectural Review Board, and for approval by the Flood and Erosion Control Board and Conservation Commission as required pursuant to §44-2 of the zoning regulations, prior to seeking regulatory special permit/site plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission.
  • Suggestions from the conservation director should be incorporated into the project design, including: 

Final plans, once designed, should demonstrate stormwater runoff will be adequately treated under the long-term site conditions. 

Sediment and erosion-control plans and construction sequence/phasing plans should be submitted that limit unwanted deposition or movement of soils from work areas, while providing proper protection to the regulated wetland areas. 

Agree to allow site monitoring to ensure protection of the onsite resources. Use low-impact development (LID) features to reduce stormwater runoff volume and treatment of pollutants in the water by using rain gardens, bio-filtration swales, etc.

Avoid interruption to the existing drainage pipe (other than maintenance) to eliminate offsite impacts to properties located on Trailing Rock Lane, portions of Long Lots Road, portions of Maple Avenue North and Hyde Lane, at the outlet of the drainage system.

  • Comments from the fire marshal should be implemented stating:

Relocation of existing and/or additional fire hydrants may be required.

Fire lanes will be established by the Fire Marshal’s Office where needed.

Location of the Fire Department connection shall be agreed upon with the sprinkler vendor.

  • A parking study should be completed to determine how much parking is needed in the absence of a school parking standard listed in the zoning regulations as recommended by the planning and zoning director.
  • Consultation should occur with the school resource officer on the best options for improved functionality and public safety when planning for pick-ups and drop-offs from parents, especially with the integration of Stepping Stones Preschool, as advised by the Police Department.