DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

January 16, 2014

Derry transfer station plans get scaled down

Costs are up, project timeline thrown off by steep price tag

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — DERRY — The town’s plan for its new transfer station facility is being adjusted to make sure it doesn’t cost more than expected.

Details for the proposed $3 million facility are still being worked out, according to Public Works Director Michael Fowler.

Fowler gave an update to town councilors at a meeting Jan. 7, saying the design team was still at work, trying to make the plan work with the town’s planned price tag.

That pushes the start date for construction back to the spring. Construction was originally planned for last fall.

Fowler said some things will cost more than previously expected. Consultants came back with a cost analysis last summer and the price tag was too high.

The size of the building is being reduced significantly to save money.

“The latest rendition shows a 10,000-square-foot facility size,” Fowler said.

Originally, the plan was for a building up to 22,000 square feet in size. Fowler said the size kept dwindling as the costs went up.

Fowler said consultants are now doing more work to keep the project within cost, taking out things that don’t need to be included.

“We’re struggling with the cost of sitework, too,” he said. “We’re still trying to knock that cost down.”

Derry has an admirable recycling rate — up to 38 percent in past years with a goal to hit the 40 percent mark. That’s much better than the state’s rate of about 21 to 24 percent.

It could be even better with an expanded and updated facility, officials said. More items could be recycled and sold, bringing in more revenue for the town.

The current transfer station building dates back to 1980 and is undersized for Derry’s population,officials said.

The updated design will offer more recycling areas and a more streamlined process, Fowler said.

A lot of research went into the design, he said.

Fowler said the town is doing a good job with the facility it has, but more can be done. But it can’t be done at a higher cost than what the town originally planned to pay.

“It needs to be large enough,” he said, “but not bid out for $4 or $5 million.”

Derry started mandatory recycling in the 1990s. The new facility would offer more space and more opportunities to separate glass, plastic and other materials.

Keeping the design within the $3 million mark is proving a challenge, but Fowler said he’s hopeful it can be done. The project could go out to bid by the spring.

Fowler said the town’s Energy/Environmental Advisory group is also on board to give input on what would work best in a new transfer station design.

“I wish we were a little further along,” he said. “We’re still trying to refine this, but are not ready to proceed as of yet.”