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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Vermont Wins National Award For Rebuilding State Office Complex Damaged During Irene

This note was posted at the entrance to the Waterbury State Office Complex after it was forced to close from flooding due to Tropical Storm Irene. It took five years to bring a significant portion of the state employees back to Waterbury.
Toby Talbot
AP File
This note was posted at the entrance to the State Office Complex in Waterbury after it was forced to close from flooding due to Tropical Storm Irene.

The redevelopment of the State Office Complex in Waterbury, after Tropical Storm Irene, has won national recognition. The American Public Works Association has named the redevelopment one if its “projects of the year.”

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The award is one of five the association gave out for 2017. The Waterbury Complex won in the category of Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair costing more than $75 million dollars. The award is being given to the entire project team, including the state and its primary contractors and consultants.

"We’re very pleased to have that recognition and especially for a project that was constructed on time and on budget, and really is a signature project for the state of Vermont," says Christopher Cole, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

The project involved taking down 21 flood-prone buildings, restoring 13 historic structures, building a new steel-framed office building, and constructing a central plant and maintenance facility with wood biomass boilers and emergency generators.

John Ostrum served as the state's project engineer and architect for the State Office Complex renovations, and he worked on the project for nearly six years.

"The overall construction cost was about $101 million," he says, "the largest single construction project ever done in the history of the state government, other than highways."

On top of that Ostrum says there were about $30 million dollars of soft costs such as asbestos abatement and consulting fees. Much of the money came from federal disaster aid and insurance. And still, there is more work to be done.

Ostrum says the funds ran out before four buildings could be addressed. This fall, restoration and renovation work on two of those buildings will be going out to bid. Ostrum says the final two buildings are scheduled to be redeveloped around 2022 which, he says, will bring the campus back to full utilization.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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