Plan needs modification to bring down costs
AURELIA - The Aurelia City Council met Monday night, and the main items on their agenda dealt with the Community Center project. Bids on the construction of the new building were opened last week, and all four of the bids far exceeded the budget the city planned to spend on the project. After discussion among council members, the council determined that the reason for the discrepancy was an architect plan which had many "bells and whistles" added to the council's original plan for the building. Council members met with the head of the architectural firm to express their disappointment and dissatisaction with the plan, and a council meeting was set up with the architect and the low bidder among the general contractors, H and H Construction of Kingsley.
The two were to meet with the council on Wednesday at City Hall at 9 a.m. The group will look to ways the architectural plan can be modified to meet the city's budget for the project. The budget goal of approximately $760,000 has been met through donations from the community, Aurelia Municipal Electric, and the city.
If a plan is approved which H & H will do for the budget or less, the Council can approve the new plan and the contractor, then move on to approving a bid for the demolition of the old Comunity Center.
The city had requested bids on "structural items" from the old center, but this was apparently misunderstood by some bidders, who submitted bids on non-structural items. The Council approved the three bids they had received on structural items - Ron Tuttle for the east windows and casings, Tim Dunn on the front door, and Al Wieland for the heating and air conditioning systems.
Council members will do a complete inventory of items in the building to determine which things are city-owned and which items belong to the Legion, Legion Auxiliary, Commercial Club, or perhaps someone else. When this has been determined, a list of items on which people can bid will be posted on the city's web site and on local cable access channel 12.
In other Community Center-related business, several residents of properties near the three which the city plans to re-zone from residential to commercial property, in order to pave the land for Community Center parking, were present to ask questions about the possibility of their properties being re-assessed. Mayor Bowen did not think that would likely happen.
The Council did approve the re-zoning of 301, 305, and 309 North Main to commercial property, when the Community Center plans are finalized, as authorized by the County Board of Adjustment at their June meeting. The Council talked about the possibility of paving the entire alley on that block of North Main Street in addition to the actual parking lot area, feeling a paved alley would cause less dust to be raised when there is a lot of traffic and parking for an event at the Comunity Center, and this would make for a better situation for the neighborhood.
The building committee did meet Wednesday morning with representatives from H and H Construction and Cannon, Moss, and Brygger and Associates to discuss ways of trimming the cost of the building. Mayor Jeff Bowen, Roger Redig, Dee Keith, Dar Evans, and Bill Smith were the other persons present at the meeting.
All of the general contracting bids were much higher than the figure the City Council had set for the budget for the project, apparently due to some misinformation they were given concerning the costs of materials.
H & H Construction, from Kingsley, was awarded the General Contracting contract, because they were the lowest bidder. At the Wednesday meeting, H & H assured the committee members and architect that they will provide services at whatever the amount of the revised costs turns out to be.
The changes recommended involve "taking out things that are not going to change the use of the building, just change the looks a little bit," said Rick Dean of Cannon, Moss and Brygger.
Recommended changes include issues with restroom features; changing the front entrance glass to a straight, rather than an arched appearance; changing some decorative lighting to a less expensive standard lighting; making some changes to some exterior windows, including using painted aluminum rather than wood, using oak rather than maple on interior doors, removing the acoustical tile ceilings from three of the storage rooms, and making floors cement with a good sealer, rather than the polished concrete called for in the original plan.
The members of the group planned to meet as soon as possible with sub-contractors to go over their revised plans, seeking their input or suggestions, and discuss the Council's new expectations.
It appears that making the recommended changes should allow the job to be done for the budgeted figure, which is what was "advertised" to the community prior to the recent fund-raising effort.
This amount is available now for the project, with approximately one-third of the funds coming from the city, one-third from Aurelia Municipal Utilities, and one-third from community donations.
Once the final costs are determined and contracts signed, the project will proceed to the next step - demolition of the 1927 Community Center.