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Cost of outfitting Brunswick meeting space doubles; People Plus move could be delayed

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Cost of outfitting Brunswick meeting space doubles; People Plus move could be delayed

BRUNSWICK — The cost for the town to finish meeting space at Maine Street Station will be double the original estimate, according to town staff.

Town Manager Gary Brown last week advised the Town Council that the new meeting facility at 16 Station Ave. would require an additional $55,000, bringing the cost of the project to about $110,000.

Meanwhile, Brown confirmed Tuesday that overruns on another project, the relocation of People Plus to a recently acquired building on Union Street, will likely delay the retirement services provider's move at the end of the month.

Brown is expected to ask the council on Monday, Sept. 21, to authorize the meeting space expenditure from the town's fund balance account. The unanticipated expenses include things like theater-style seating, moving Cable Television 3 from Industry Road to the new building and a larger footprint.

During the Sept. 8 council meeting, Brown said the People Plus relocation would also require the council to release additional funding. However, it appears Brown will wait to obtain a more definitive estimate on those costs before seeking a council vote.

People Plus is now on Noble Street. It will be displaced by the $23.5 million Maine Street Station project, specifically the construction of a 60-room inn that is scheduled to begin in October. 

Officials at People Plus have previously stated that they hoped the organization's move wouldn't mean any delay in the services its provides.

People Plus Executive Director Susan Cole did not return calls seeking comment before press time. 

Brown, who was attending a conference in Montreal this week, said in an e-mail that he took responsibility for the conservative estimate on the town meeting space. He said the new estimate was driven higher by an additional $22,000 to pay the contractor to outfit the entire space. The latter, Brown said, is in part due to outfitting a larger space and a low estimate on the cost per square foot to do so. 

Also included in the overrun, Brown said, is the installation of fixed seating ($14,000) to meet an unforeseen state requirement to limit the number of people in the meeting room, and purchasing a wooden dais for the council ($8,500).

Brown said the seating and the dais would be available if the town decided to move from the meeting space at the expiration of its five-year lease. 

Originally the town planned to keep Cable TV 3 at Industry Road. But Brown said the town realized later in the summer that relocating the television station to Maine Street Station "was the better move."

He did not specify how much the relocation would cost.

In the spring, the council voted for a five-year sublease with Bowdoin College and in June it authorized a budget resolution to fund the project. Bowdoin is leasing the space from JHR Development, the town's development partner in the Maine Street Station project

Steve Mistler can be reached at 377-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net