| Dennis Hackett
SOUTHAMPTON – With the feasibility work underway for a potential new Senior Center in Southampton, the Select Board met with the Ad Hoc Senior Center Feasibility Committee to discuss the next steps for the project during a Sept. 13 meeting. The committee voted to move forward with Abacus Architects and Planners, an Allston-based architecture firm, during a prior meeting.
Committee Co-Chair Janet Cain recapped the interview process which began in April. Since that time, the committee received approval for a request for quote (RFQ) in June before receiving proposals from five firms. The committee then narrowed those five proposals down to two, Abacus and EDM, a Connecticut-based firm. Following reach out to references, Cain said the committee unanimously agreed to move forward with Abacus during a Sept. 12 meeting.
“It certainly was a difficult decision as everyone commented that either firm would be highly qualified to perform a feasibility study for Southampton,” she said.
Andrew LaFosse, co-chair for the committee, said Abacus has been recognized for their work in a variety of ways.
“Most notably the firm received recognition in universal design principles for seniors, that includes multiple American Institute of Architects awards for acceptable and inclusive design for several of their project,” he said.
LaFosse added Abacus was also awarded the Harleston Parker Medal by a jury for “the most beautiful piece of architecture, building, monument or structure in the metropolitan Boston area in the last 10 years.”
Along with awards for the firm, LaFosse said that one of the partners is recognized as a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, which he said is the highest honor an American architect can receive.
With any project, LaFosse said the entire Abacus team works closely together.
“The consultant and all team members are local to the architect, this way there is not as much coordination and effort involved with working together internally to deliver the town a comprehensive feasibility study,” he said.
LaFosse said the feasibility study is anticipated to be complete by March 16.
LaFosse lauded Abacus for their decision matrix when it comes to determining the best site for the project.
“The committee felt their decision matrix approach was a critical element in being able to display the comparative data between site and ultimately an extremely helpful resource to eventually choose a site,” he said.
With the decision matrix Abacus uses, LaFosse said the firm would be able to easily eliminate sites that would not work for the project.
Cain added that the project is anticipated to cost less than $60,000.
The board unanimously approved a motion to name Abacus the firm to work on the feasibility study for the Senior Center.
The Ad Hoc Senior Center Feasibility Committee is scheduled to host its first meeting with Abacus in October. Cain added that the findings of the feasibility study will be presented to the board in March.
Select Board member Maureen Groden thanked the committee for their work on the project thus far.
“This committee has done a great job in a very short amount of time, and it has been very detailed and methodical and just thoughtful,” she said.
The Southampton Select Board next meets on Sept. 27.