FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday evening, Oct. 24, voted to refuse two bids for work on the Community Center roof and seek quotes from other firms.

“This is the second time the project went to bid for restoration to the roof,” Thaddeus Gabryszewski, vice president of Lincoln/Haney Engineering Associates in Brunswick, said. “The first time we got one bid, this time we got two bids. The single bidder last time was Bowman [Brothers] Construction.”

The Newport company bid  again, $2.46 million both times, Gabryszewski noted. Devoe Construction from Eagle Lake was the second bidder at $2.489 million, he said.

“Bowman’s price is identical to what it was last time,” Gabryszewski said. “Devoe Construction if you take a look between the two numbers on an almost $2.5 million project, what they have estimated it to be is $29,000 off. So that means they’ve been talking to each other or they went to the same sub [contractor] or something else isn’t quite right. To my way of thinking, these aren’t reasonable bids.”

Gabryszewski said he called to speak with Kyla Magnusson of Preferred Construction Management Co. of Maine and New Jersey, who had been involved with the project previously. He said she was on the phone with someone in Farmington regarding a $4.1 million award at University of Maine at Farmington.

Magnusson’s estimate for the UMF project was right on, two years ago her estimate for the Community Center roof was $660,000, Gabryszewski noted. “When I described the situation to her, she said, ‘If you told me it had doubled, I would say that’s terrible but that is what has happened in the last few years.’ She mentioned the  $2.5 million quote, that’s almost $280 per square foot, that is almost the price of a new building.”


Gabryszewski said Magnusson noticed how close the bids were, that it sounded like the companies had been talking with each other.

Kyla’s thoughts were this isn’t a real price bid, no one wants to work on this project so the companies were going to make it worth their while, Gabryszewski noted. He recommended not accepting either bid and revisiting the town’s policy on not being able to negotiate with the contractor on anything more than $10,000.

This project is harder than others, involves more work, is in a more remote location for some contractors because they don’t have other projects close by, Gabryszewski stated. Sheridan Construction Corp. in Fairfield is doing a lot of work in Farmington now, might have expressed interest in the roof project at one point, he noted.

“Perhaps you talk to Sheridan, be up front with them, explain this is what we have earmarked,” Gabryszewski said. “Take a look at the complexity of the project. Perhaps they can say you are right, $2.5 million isn’t right but we can do it for … I don’t know what the number is.”

Another issue with the project is bonding capacity.

One company didn’t want to be tied up for the amount of time the project would entail, another didn’t have enough bonding.


Gabryszewski said he wouldn’t recommend not having bonding. “You get left holding the pieces if things don’t go correctly,” he noted.

“Kyla said this project is probably too small for the bigger contractors unless they are around, might be too large for smaller contractors,” Gabryszewski noted.

Selectman Joshua Bell asked about the estimated time frame for the project.

April to November was given to allow as much time as needed, the time to complete the work itself might be a month and a half to two months, Gabryszewski replied. He said the trusses will be steel, not wood due to the length involved.

The roof was inspected in 2000, it’s had 23 more years since it was inspected, is not looking great, Gabryszewski noted. One truss is all wood now, the plans were updated to take that truss out and put a new one in, he stated.

Selectman Byron Staples asked if action was needed now, if there was an emergency aspect of the roof situation.


Gabryszewski said state code requires 75 pounds per square foot, there are sections of the roof that will only take 30 pounds which is less than half of the allowed capacity. Other sections are at 40 or 50 pounds per square foot so keeping snow off the roof was his recommendation.

Other options such as adding a pitched roof or tearing the current Community Center down and building a new one aren’t easy solutions, Gabryszewski noted.

Chair Matthew Smith asked if the work could still be done next summer if the bids were rejected.

Sheridan is already working in Farmington, finding someone else could work, Gabryszewski noted. Kevin W. Smith and Son, Inc. of Gorham attended both walk throughs, other Maine companies seemed interested but didn’t come to the walk through, he added.

Foster said he sent requests for proposals to 11 companies initially. Sheridan was interested, couldn’t do it by the end of the year, didn’t show for the second walk through, he added.

In July 2021 grant funds that could have been used to install an HVAC system to heat, cool and ventilate the Community Center had to be returned because the roof wouldn’t support the units.


In February 2022 selectmen voted to use remaining American Rescue Plan [ARPA] funds towards the Community Center roof. Previously they had approved using about $93,000 of the town’s $820,000 allocation for employee hazard pay and $4,800 for a broadband study.

In July, selectmen voted not to accept the lone $2.46 million bid from Bowman Brothers Construction of Newport to replace the roof at the Farmington Community Center and put the project out to bid again.

Matthew Foster, director of Parks and Recreation, said then it was significantly more than the $660,000 estimate received in 2021.


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