Olson cuts a half million off Bayview Center cost, still 60 percent over budget

Yesterday, City Administrator Eric Olson sent the Pensacola City Council a new budget for the proposed Bayview Community Center that reduced the total budget from $10,145,047 to $9,585,000.

Did he have the city engineering department work with the architect to find cost savings in the design?

No, he reduced the contingency fee. The goal – as it always is with Olson – is to say or do anything to get an item passed.

“In response to questions that were raised at yesterday’s agenda conference about the item that I requested be considered as an add-on (Award of Contract – Bid #18-009 Bayview Community Center), city staff reviewed the funding for the project and recommended that certain changes be made prior to the council meeting on Thursday,” Olson wrote in an email sent after 3 p.m. yesterday. “The changes to the financial impact and funding sections of the legislative item reflect a decrease in the budget of $560,047 based on a 7% reduction in the contingency amount.”

Even with the reduction of the contingency fee, the project is still 60 percent over the original budget –  by $4,585,000. There is no indication that the mayor’s office did anything to get the project in line with the $6 million budget approved by the council. The final design was presented at the last minute to the council at its last budget workshop with no notification to public. No alternatives were offered to reduce the cost.

The Bayview Center is the most expensive community center in the city’s history and the one with the least amount of public input. Few people can figure out why the boathouse was added. Caldwell Associates presented the boathouse at the public forum on May 30, 2017, but it wasn’t what the public requested.

According to the final report presented the council last September, the public’s concerns were:

• Many residents are concerned about any tree removal in the park
• Physical connection to the water is an important element to the building’s location
• Minimize event center capacity
• Traffic control & parking solutions were broughtup with every group – as well as possible alternate solutions that the city could provide like shuttles, drop-offs, off-site parking, etc.
• Provide outdoor area specifically for children – such as a splash pad (the one sprinkler that they have in the park is used at high volumes).
• Park’s existing facilities require additional maintenance – tree trimming, upkeep in dog park, garbage clean-up, clean-up of bathrooms, assure water fountains work, etc.
• Several requests to assign a ‘fishing’ area, so that it has an importance, but so it also can be separated from passive recreation areas
• Citizens were concerned that would be enough space for children’s summer camps, after school camps, & exercise classes – FOCUS on children & families
• There was an overall concern for the Senior Center’s future in the Master Plan
• Citizens want space for community classroom areas

Here is how the budget has grown:

Dec -2016 Sept -2017 Monday – 5/7 Tuesday – 5/8
Construction  $ 4,500,000.00  $6,050,000.00  $ 8,007,000.00  $8,007,000.00
Furniture & Fixtures  $279,000.00  $ 325,000.00  $ 325,000.00  $325,000.00
Design Fee – 7%  $315,828.00  $437,586.00  $598,847.00  $598,847.00
Soft Costs  $404,500.00  $ 395,000.00  $413,500.00  $413,500.00
Contigency  $500,672.00  $467,051.57  $800,700.00  $240,653.00
Cost Escalation 1/2017  $576,606.88
 $ 6,000,000.00  $ 8,251,244.45  $ 10,145,047.00  $ 9,585,000.00

4 thoughts on “Olson cuts a half million off Bayview Center cost, still 60 percent over budget

  1. Another note- 6% is standard design fee including all consultants (Arch, Mech, Elec, Plumb, Civil) which is total legal amount allocated for even federal government work. How did 7% get approved for Caldwell? What a waste of money for substandard design planning that put the project over budget.

  2. Caldwell is a horrible architecture group. The contingency will be needed to handle the major design flaws, design coordination issues that they completely neglect and miss, and the lack of overall construction means/methods knowledge in producing their design.

    Their fee should be contingent on the costs staying in budget so the city doesn’t have to foot the bill for their total incompetency.

    The fact that they can’t design a project to meet our initial budget is a telling sign of their incompetency. I can’t believe they were hired but then again our board that was selected to hire the architect group were a bunch of East Hiller’s and had no business being on the selection committee (i.e. Steven Shelley). Good architects are a dying breed and Caldwell is the main issue in this debacle.

  3. Smoke and mirrors construction budget reduction. What happens when they need the contingency for unforeseen issues? Clearly, Olson is not qualified to lead a “value engineering” session with the architect to find some real savings.

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