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Willard-DiLoreto Construction Is Underway

The Willard-DiLoreto construction will be a $63 million project. Photo Credit: Charles Bass, Staff Photographer
The project is expected to be finished by March 2, 2019. Photo Credit: Charles Bass, Staff Photographer

by Cyrus dos Santos

After a three month delay, construction has officially begun on the Willard-DiLoreto expansion and renovation project.

“We were hoping the project would have started last year,” said Jim Grupp, director of engineering at Central Connecticut State University. “We broke ground in December, and that’s when we were hoping it would start.”

Due to contract issues, it took a year for Downes Construction Company of New Britain to work with the contract manager at Risk in breaking ground, according to Grupp.

“Part of our job is to make sure that we’re getting a building that’s going to be functional for dealing with the students and faculty,” said Grupp.

The estimated completion date is October 31, 2018.

“That’s when we can technically occupy the building,” said Grupp.

It will take approximately three months to move in all necessary furniture and to get the building up and running.

“We plan to open the building for the spring of 2019,” said Grupp.

According to documents obtained from the State of Connecticut Division of Construction Services, the construction phase, from start date to substantial completion date, is 720 calendar days.

Should the project go past 720 calendar days, the CMR would be held accountable by the state. “It’s thousands of dollars per day,” said Grupp.

Grupp confirmed the official start date of the renovations was recently. “March 13, of this year.”

720 days gives the CMR until March 2, 2019 to arrive at the substantial completion date, under the contract’s proposed construction phase, without penalty.

Downes Construction Company, which constructed CCSU’s Mid-Campus Residence Hall and the Vance Academic Center, was chosen by a team consisting of members from CCSU and the State of Connecticut’s Division of Construction Services. They will be working with a budget of $63 million.

“The guaranteed maximum price is $47 million,” said Grupp. “And then there’s the overall project cost.”

The project cost covers mechanical and electrical designer fees, inspections, hazardous waste mitigation, consultant and architect fees. According to Grupp, those costs total about $63 million.

The remodeled building will offer a new, indoor common area surrounded by natural light, “that provides the CCSU campus with a one-stop student services center,” according to TSKP Studio, the architect for the project. “The design adds 35,000 square feet between two existing buildings, totaling 105,000 square feet.”

Colliers International, a global commercial real estate company with a branch located in Hartford, has come on as the contract administrator.

“They’re like our eyes and ears on the project,” explained Grupp. Colliers’ main job is to assure the contract is upheld for the state. “They’re there every day, eight hours a day, because we just can’t be there eight hours.”