Vandalia infrastructure upgrades set to begin this summer

VANDALIA — The city of Vandalia is finalizing plans to start several critical upgrades to city buildings, street improvements and other infrastructure projects as early as this summer.

Over the past year, staff members from several city departments, namely building inspector Chris Mastrino and facilities superintendent Rudy Wells, have examined the detailed history of the city’s infrastructure in preparation for this project, said city manager Dan Wendt.

The cost of the improvements will total around $8.2 million, Wendt said, and the city is currently in the bond rating process for issuance of a bond in an amount not to exceed $10.2 million—with the excess to account for unforeseen project expenses.

According to Wendt, the city’s aging buildings, which include the 50-year-old Municipal Building at 333 James Bohanan Drive, has led to a need for continuous unplanned repair costs throughout recent years, further solidifying the urgency for permanent upgrades.

“The time to be able to stagger this (work), facility by facility, has passed,” Wendt said to council. “The deferred maintenance is to the point where this must be done.”

In October 2021, the city hired Energy Systems Group (ESG) to provide managing services related to the infrastructure project, Wendt said.

“With the complexity of the project, it’s impossible for city staff to do their jobs and get this project right, so we’re bringing in a professional group to do that and get the competitive procurement,” he said.

ESG representatives gave a presentation during a Feb. 7 council study session, which highlighted that the HVAC units and roofs at many of the city buildings have met or exceeded the projected life cycles.

“The good news is (the buildings) are well-maintained, but it’s to the point where the systems are beyond their useful life,” said Keith Valiquette, account executive for ESG.

The bulk of the project will involve new roofing and the replacement of HVAC control and/or equipment for the Municipal Building, the Justice Center, the Recreation Center, the Senior Center, and the Parks Maintenance Building, along with things like air quality and filtration improvements, and lighting upgrades at some buildings.

“The Justice Center and our Vandalia Recreation Center are two of the prettiest buildings in town, I would say, and we’re really proud of them, but the roof and HVAC are original to both of those, so it’s time to get it done and get it done right,” Wendt said during the study session.

The project will also include lighting retrofit, programmable thermostats, and replacement poles/fixtures at Cassel Hills Clubhouse; indoor air quality enhancements at both fire stations; and several street improvements, including lighting upgrades, updating crosswalk countdowns to Ohio Department of Transportation standards, traffic light interconnection and remote control, and 16 uninterruptible power supplies, which are used to keep traffic lights operational in the event of an electricity outage.

According to Wendt, the timeline for construction, while dependent on availability of supplies, is estimated to begin as soon as this summer, with a rough completion goal of fall 2023.

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