Public Works building estimates $500K over budget

Nick Blank
Posted 2/20/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Early plans for the city’s Public Works building is about $500,000 over budget, though the process is only half done.

Council members budgeted $1.3 million for the 8,000 …

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Public Works building estimates $500K over budget

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Early plans for the city’s Public Works building is about $500,000 over budget, though the process is only half done.

Council members budgeted $1.3 million for the 8,000 square-foot project on Gum Street, however figures from contractor Auld & White came back with $1.8 million estimate.

Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director Mike Null said the city and the contractor have met to reduce costs about $276,500 by removing features from the facility such as restroom wall tiles to save $12,800, removing a transfer switch and generator pad to save $38,800 and removing a bike rack for $400. In addition to those 11 items, the removal of a few items like kitchen cabinetry and a masonry wainscot on the exterior would net the city $38,900, though those items are still under review.

Three items: additional public restrooms, site plan requirements like extra sidewalks and the need for a new lift station added about $76,000 in unforeseen costs, Null said. He said the city could save $100,000 in utility work if it’s done by the city. The more the city reduced costs, the architect and engineering fee would decrease. That left only $150,000 in unaccounted costs, though $40,000 of that is contingency.

“Overall, I think the construction management process is working,” Null said. “We were able to go line by line.”

Council Member Pam Lewis questioned budget cuts to the building when the city is currently experiencing growth. She asked about the reduction of one service bay that would net the city $80,500 in savings pending design input.

“Is that going to be adequate if we can eliminate that bay?” Lewis asked.

“Yeah, that’s something we really prefer not to do,” Null replied.

Council Member Van Royal expressed displeasure about the project being over budget. Royal asked about how much diverted staff time there would be and the dent to the slew of capital projects in the city’s future. He asked about Auld & White’s process of receiving potential bids from contractors and asked if the firm looked at plans long or hard enough.

“It just seems like pick a number,” he said.

Auld & White Business Development Manager Cindy Reis said the goal was to find where both parties were at 50 percent into the plans for the budget and then adjust. She said the firm was given instructions for an 8,000 square-foot pre-engineered metal building on site and see what was possible.

“We didn’t really have a set of plans to be figuring all that stuff out,” Reis said. “I don’t think we saw the schematic sketch until the November timeframe.”

Council Member Mitch Timberlake said shrinking the building might be short sighted, but there would need to be serious conversations if the project came in $500,000 over when the designs were complete.

“I appreciate what you brought to us tonight,” Timberlake said.

The council approved the 50 percent plans in a 5-0 vote. Royal approved, not without reservations.

“The report is the report. Happy with it? Certainly not. Accept it? Yes,” Royal said.

“We’ll obviously work as hard as we can to get it down to the $1.3 million,” Null said.

Earlier in the meeting, the property on Gum Street was rezoned from “Public Right-of-Way” to “Institutional” and a small parcel east of the compound was changed from “Single Family Residential” to “Institutional” to pave the way for the building’s construction.

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