Wilmington Hires OPM For Wildwood School Building Project, Looking To Bring On Designer Next

WILMINGTON, MA — The Town of Wilmington recently hired an OPM (owner’s project manager) for the Wildwood School Building project.

An OPM serves as the town’s representative in dealing with the designer and contractor for building construction projects. An OPM is a state requirement for projects costing at least $1.5 million. An OPM is also a requirement to participate in the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s construction grant program.

According to Town Manager Jeff Hull’s recent report of the Select Board, eight firms submitted a proposal to serve as the OPM by the October 19 deadline, including: Atlantic Construction, CHA, Collier Project Group, Hill International, Leftfield, P3 Project Planning, SMMA, and TERVA Corporation. P3 Project Planning is currently serving as OPM for the town’s Senior Center and Town Hall/School Administration Building projects.

A subcommittee of the Wildwood School Building Committee reviewed the proposals and created a short list of firms to interview. The firms were scored on several criteria, including past performance, knowledge of the state building code and ADA laws, knowledge of the state’s construction procurement lawn, and their management approach to the project.

Three firms were shortlisted for interviews — Collier Project Leaders, Hill International, and SMMA. Following public interviews and additional scoring based on new criteria, the subcommittee ranked SMMA as its preferred firm and recommended they serve as the OPM. 5 of the 7 members preferred SMMA, while 2 of the 7 narrowly preferred Collier over SMMA.

Subcommittee members included Town Manager Hull, School Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand, Assistant School Superintendent Paul Ruggiero, Public Buildings Superintendent George Hooper, School Committee member Melissa Plowman, Select Board member Greg Bendel, and Finance Committee member Marianne Gallezzo.

Town Manager Jeff Hull subsequently met with representatives from SMMA and successfully negotiated a $150,000 lump sum fee for the creation of a feasibility study and schematic design, plus $35,000 for cost estimating services.

The town submitted the necessary paperwork to the Massachusetts School Building Authority so that the state could approve SMMA’s involvement at its MSBA OPM Review Panel Meeting on December 5, 2022. SMMA is expected to give a 15-minute presentation to MSBA at the meeting and answer questions from the panel. The town would then receive a letter from the MSBA authorizing that the contract for services with SMMA be executed.

SMMA’s first major task will be to work with the Town and the MSBA to draft a Request for Services (RFS) for designer services. After the document is vetted by the MSBA, the RFS will be issued, proposals will be solicited, and a designer will ultimately be selected.

“Once the designer is selected, the work to evaluate several options for accompanying elementary school students will commence,” wrote Hull.

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