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Manufacturer’s recall delays Lincoln town garage opening

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Jerry DeKeyser, a glazer with Architectural Doors & Windows of Brewer, cleans the new steel front door at the Lincoln Public Works garage on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine ― A manufacturer’s recall will delay the opening of the new town Public Works Department garage by about a month to the end of December, town officials said Monday.

Replacements for the four heaters that would have served the new 8,025-square-foot building have arrived and been installed, Public Works Department Director David Lloyd said, but not in time for the planned Nov. 23 opening date.

Nichols Construction LLC of Hudson and several subcontractors were wiring the electricity to the building and doing finishing work in anticipation of the arrival of several bay lights within the next two weeks, Lloyd said. The recall delay will cause some inconvenience, especially if the town’s plow trucks are needed, but no major problems.

“If it snows, we’ll be dodging snowstorms on the move in,” Lloyd said Monday.

With its offer of $880,498, Nichols Construction was the lowest bidder among seven area contractors who sought the opportunity to build the garage, which will have three bays capable of holding six vehicles, and six rooms, including an office, a lunchroom, two bathrooms and storage and building utilities areas. Work began in July.

Residents voted 178-172 in a special referendum on March 1 to allocate $1.15 million to fund construction of the new garage on Park Avenue. It was the second referendum on the subject. The project is expected to expend just about all of the allocation, though final bills are not in yet.

Town leaders have acknowledged for years that a new garage is necessary because the old facility, also on Park Avenue, has many structural flaws, some of which compromise worker safety. Several previous efforts to start the process that would lead to the construction of a new garage had failed.

Officials hope to complete the contractors’ “punch list,” thereby certifying the building has all the elements contracted for, within a week or so, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.

The new garage is a great improvement over the old in almost all respects. It is much larger, brighter, safer, cleaner and energy-efficient and will be much easier to organize. Its many roof and garage door windows will make electrical lights almost unnecessary during the day, Lloyd said.

With 6,000 feet of heated garage space, twice the size of the old, repairs will go faster, and with its lunchroom, workers will be more comfortable. The only thing the old garage has over it, Lloyd said, is oil-changing pits.

“We had to pick our priorities,” Lloyd said. “We have a very good building committee, very knowledgeable.”

Town leaders will wait until the summer before discussing whether a lift system would be worthwhile, he said.

Either way, “with this, hopefully we have a building that will meet our needs for the next 25 or 30 years,” Lloyd said.

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