NORTH SMITHFIELD – When the newly renovated Kendall Dean building finally opens, North Smithfield Town Council chambers will be equipped with the latest audio/video equipment, including built-in monitors that will allow all meetings to be live streamed.
The Town Council voted unanimously Monday to award a bid for the project to PMA Industries of Johnston, with $17,797 dedicated to installation of a base system, and an additional $9,987 set aside for data/video cameras and monitors.
The room, which has been renovated as part of ongoing improvements to the former school, will feature a permanently-mounted projector in the ceiling and a large retractable screen, where guests can view the agenda and supporting documents while board members discuss them. The council dais, which was once situated in front of the small auditorium’s stage, has been moved to the back wall opposite the main door.
“I’m sure that it will be easy to read and functional,” Town Administrator Gary Ezovski said of the new setup.
Hardware to be installed as part of the base bid includes six loudspeakers, one amplifier, four new microphones with bases, one handheld wireless microphone and a hearing impaired system with four receivers.
The town received four bids for the project, with PMA providing the lowest quote, according to Ezovski.
“It is a full system that I think will serve the council well,” he said.
The improvements are part of a roughly $3.5 million renovation of the Greene Street building, which will house town offices once complete. Final work on the structure in now underway, with an opening expected in the upcoming weeks.
Bids for long-awaited improvements to the playground behind the municipal Annex, meanwhile, were not as promising.
Public Works Director Raymond Pendergast said the town received only one bid for installation of an irrigation system, and it was higher than expected.
“I’m not comfortable with one bid. And it’s high. It’s higher than I really want to pay for a park,” Pendergast said.
The park, located behind the Annex on Smithfield Road, is expected to have new fencing, playground equipment, picnic tables, shrubbery, a bike rack, and walking/trike trails, where young children can learn to ride their bikes, according to initial plans. The town received a $53,440 outdoor recreation grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for the project in 2016.
Full renovations were expected to cost around $66,000 at the time, with the town to provide the remaining $13,360 in a matching contribution.
But work on the park has been slow to transpire, and it’s unclear if all elements can still be completed within budget.
“The prices are going up if I have to conform to all of the elements that the prior planner put into this park,” Pendergast said.
The town did complete some work on the park last June, transferring playground equipment from Halliwell Elementary School to the small space after the school closed.
Pendergast noted that the deadline to complete the work is now fast approaching.
“I understand that this is on the fast track this park because we have a deadline of the end of April,” he said. “I still think we have time.”
The public works director said he may change the scope of the irrigation plan, and that he’s also been biding out other elements of the project, such as paving and fencing.
The council tabled a recommendation to award the bid for playground fencing to AEP Fence Services, Inc. Monday night, saying that Pendergast could come back before them one he also has an irrigation bid.