Archive for Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pool pruning process progressing

April 14, 2005

De Soto City Administrator Greg Johnson said negotiations with the low bidder to build a new municipal pool south of the Community Center were going well and that construction could start next month.

After a bid opening last month in which all bids for the pool's construction exceeded the city's $2.3 million budget, Johnson received the De Soto City Council's blessing to negotiate "value engineering" with the low bidder, Vanum Construction of Kansas City, Kan.

It appears as if the process was successful, although he was still waiting for Vanum to do its final number crunching on the agreed on modifications, Johnson said.

The $2.3 million budget left room for a $100,000 contingency fund, Johnson said. If as the project moves forward and that money isn't used, features removed for cost-savings could be added back in, he said.

Johnson said modifications to the pool complex's design were addressed in three areas -- site improvements like sidewalks and a parking lot, buildings and the pool itself. Site preparation alterations might include paving the parking lot slated for west of the Community Center with chip and seal rather than asphalt. As for the pool, Vanum representatives suggested moving the dive pool could save $20,000 through the elimination of a retaining wall, Johnson said.

"The reality is there have been cuts in all three areas," he said. "We will still have a desirable and modern facility with a slide, separate dive area, vortexpool and interactive play areas."

Johnson said he expected Vanum's final response this week. It was hoped the Planning Commission could be apprised of the changes at its April 26 meeting and a construction contract presented to the De Soto City Council at its May 2 meeting.

One of the things that increased the bid estimate was a sewer line from City Hall and the Community Center that would basically bisect the old football field, making it impossible to design around. City staff was aware of the line's location -- some residents mistook work on the line soon after the April 2004 bond referendum as the start of the pool's construction -- but underestimated the cost of relocating the line.

With the start of construction, the area behind the Community Center will become a construction zone. Johnson said that might close the area to parking, although that was still being discussed.

The construction design assumed placement of gravel on the future west parking lot as a stop-gap measure for the lost parking, Johnson said.

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