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As the town of Adams seeks bids on an outdoor recreation center at Greylock Glen, its officials have a strategy to keep construction on track, even if the cost of building materials complicates the issue.

ADAMS — A printout showing a $6.5 million state wire transfer is today a treasured keepsake inside Adams Town Hall, after decades spent hunting support for one Greylock Glen project or another.

And yet, those steering plans for the now-approved outdoor recreation center still have another needle to thread.

The center’s latest cost estimate was completed in November 2019, four months before the coronavirus pandemic began to create supply-chain problems and drive up prices for building materials, in some cases by 200 percent.

“There are horror stories out there,” said Donna Cesan, the Adams official who came back from retirement as community development director to shepherd the long-sought development.

“Everyone knows it has volatility to it,” she said of supply costs.

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The Greylock Glen local team: Jay Green, Adams town administrator; Donna Cesan, former community development director for Adams; and state Rep. John Barrett III, D-North Adams. All played roles in securing $6.5 million in state money for the project.

On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker visited the Glen to put a kind of bow around the release of money, after decades of false starts on a slew of development plans for the thousand-acre state tract.

In an interview later, Cesan and Jay Green, the Adams town administrator, shared details of their game plan on making sure a quick start to construction isn’t foiled by unexpectedly high bids.

When the town releases an invitation to bid next month, the document will break the Glen project into elements, with the core of the 11,000-square-foot building topping that list, Cesan said. Under the approach, known as “bid alternates,” companies interested in being tapped for the job provide bids not only for the entirety of the architect’s plan, but for significant pieces of it.

“We can build the core of the building and, if we have to, we can add in phases,” Cesan said.

For example, the design by Maclay Architects of Vermont calls for an approximately 1,000-square-foot space that will be occupied by an equipment outfitter serving those who visit the center. If bids come in higher than what was anticipated in late 2019, that piece of the project could be postponed, Cesan said, and a gear outfitter could set up an outdoor van or trailer temporarily to accommodate rentals.

“We want to be smart about it, and public bidding is not an easy process,” Green said.

Holding off on the retailer’s space, if needed, would enable construction to get started on the main elements of the center — its educational spaces, and food service and gathering rooms. Another bid alternate: gravel access roads, rather than paved.

Cesan said that despite the “horror stories,” the Vermont architect reports that for projects priced at about the time of the Glen center, the cost increase has been a more manageable 8.8 percent.

In an interview after his remarks at the Glen, Baker said there often is a “spread” in numbers when it comes to construction projects.

“You typically put a contingency of some sort in there. Because stuff does happen most of the time in construction,” the governor said. “If there is some sort of an issue, or problems associated with the cost of goods or something else, we’ll figure it out and make sure it happens. That will not be a problem with respect to getting this done.”

Final design work

Cesan said she has a weekly call with the architect. Though all permits are in place and the center’s design is complete, more work was needed to render plans for the system that will bring water into the new building.

Those additional steps include designing a small pump house.

“There is some additional design work. That work is being done now,” she said.

In addition to the $6.5 million released this spring by the state for the center, public money has prepared crucial infrastructure at the site.

The project has been advanced, for example, by a $2 million MassWorks grant that paid for new water and sewer systems and for Gould Road work. Another player has been the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which made $3 million available for the venture after the town was designated as the Glen developer in December 2006. That money was used to advance planning and permitting and paid for work on hiking, biking and walking trails, among other things.

Adams invested as well. Residents committed nearly $1 million through the years, Cesan said in an earlier interview, not including staff time.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass

@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.