Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Center construction bids float in under budget

November 30, 2006

Add the lazy river back into the list of features increasing the appeal of the Eudora Community and Aquatic Center. Do the same for added lighting or an umbrella water feature.

All the extras originally trimmed from the complex to save money are now back because construction bids for the $3.8 million complex came in under budget. Taxpayers approved the facility in August.

The extras might be in, but the Eudora City Council decided to push the opening back from May to June.

City officials took bids from seven different contractors Nov. 21. Base bids for the contract ranged from $3,584,000 to $3,015,000.

The city council voted Monday to award the contract to the lowest bidder ---- Vanum Construction, of Kansas City, Kan. Vanum will construct the complex for $3,247,900.

"They stay within the bond, they basically complete the pool in its entirety," Project Architect Jay Zimmerschied of BG Consultants said. "Everything that was planned will be there ---- even the amenities."

Zimmerschied led the council through a series of add-ons to Vanum's base bid of $3,015,000. The additions included a pool slide, cover for the pool and the construction of a lazy river.

The bid included a total allowance of 20 bad weather days.

The contractor also promised substantial completion of the recreation center by Aug.1.

Vanum's final bid price comes in at more than $250,000 under Zimmerschied's original construction estimate of $3,494,845.

The council saved another $13,000 by delaying the pool's projected opening date of May 26 and changing it to June 29.

The delay makes the project more attractive to contractors, Zimmerschied said.

"Basically you'd give the contractors one month. That one month represents to them 30 days of good working time," Zimmerschied said.

"And to us $13,000," Councilman Bill Whitten said in response.

Mayor Tom Pyle wasn't immediately pleased with the idea of opening in June.

"They tell me the month of June is the big month for swimming. You get into August, kids are getting ready to go to college or start sports," Pyle said. "So August isn't really a good month, although it's plenty hot. June is always the warm-up for the season."

Delaying the opening might lower the price tag, but opening earlier could lead to more attendance and memberships, Pyle said.

People would probably come late opening or not, Parks and Recreation Director Tammy Hodges said.

The most important thing is ensuring the quality of product, she said.

"It's everybody's baby here," Hodges said.

Whitten said he was also in favor of delaying the opening.

"I say give them all the time they need to build this pool and get it done right," Whitten said.

Councilman Scott Hopson agreed the city should make contractors do the best job possible because the pool will serve the city 20 or 30 years.

A citizen advisory committee connected to the project publicized a possible later opening for the pool, City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

"If that's what's been presented to the public, I don't think we run into problems," Councilman Jeff Peterson said. If city officials didn't promise the public an early start, the council might as well accept the discount for a July opening, Peterson said.

"Still, I'd like to shoot for an early opening," Pyle said. He said he understood the need to build a quality product. He didn't want the project to be rushed.

The council voted unanimously to award the contract to Vanum.

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