Bids for new pool all exceed budget
City administrator looks to work with low bidder to bring cost down
Nine contractors accepted the city of De Soto's invitation to bid on the new swimming pool to be built behind the Community Center, but unfortunately none of the potential suitors proved to be Cinderella.
Now, it will apparently fall to City Administrator Greg Johnson to attempt a makeover with the most attractive bidder so it can fit into the $2.3 million glass slipper that is the city's construction budget for a new pool.
Last April, De Soto voters approved $2.65 million bond referendum for the pool. However, when design costs and a contingency was factored in, only $2.3 was left for the pool's construction.
When bids were opened last Thursday, the lowest bidder, Vanum Construction of Kansas City, Kan., exceeded that magic number by $389,000. Carrothers Construction of Paola., followed closely with a bid of $2.7 million, and McPherson Construction of Topeka bid $2.717 million. Four of the remaining five bids exceeded $3 million, with Orr Construction of Raytown, Mo., being the highest at nearly $3.5 million.
Johnson said he would ask the De Soto City Council's consent to enter into talks with Vanum designed to get the pool within the construction budget approved by city voters.
A starting point for those discussions was provided in the bid process. Contractors were asked to provide the savings should six different pool features be excluded. The first item on that list was a large enclosed spiral slide that wasn't planned to be part of the pool when it opens next May. Eliminating the second slide would reduce Vanum's bid by nearly $74,000.
Two smaller slides, the so-called vortex pool, vegetation planters, and a gas line to the bathhouse were also among thebid deductions. Their removal would reduce Vanum's bid another $63,000.
But Johnson said his proposed discussions with the contractor wouldn't start with the assumption that design features had to be removed. Instead, an attempt would be made to identify where the contractor foresaw its cost.
If an acceptable cost reduction couldn't be reached through the "value engineering" discussions, the city could re-bid the project with an altered pool design, Johnson said.