Low bidder, city to seek pool savings
As expected, City Administrator Greg Johnson received the De Soto City Council's approval to negotiate construction cost savings with the low bidder on a new city pool.
The Council's blessing came one week a after a bid opening revealed nine bids to build a new pool behind the Community Center exceeded the $2.3 million construction budget. The lowest bidder at $2.69 million was Vanum Construction of Kansas City, Kan.
The bid process asked contractors to factor in five deductible items, including a large enclosed slide that wasn't planned to be part of the facility when it opens next May. Unfortunately, even when those deductibles where subtracted, Vanum's estimate still exceeded the $2.3 million figure.
But Johnson told the Council the point of his negotiations would be to identify what Vanum believed was contributing to its costs and to then attempt to reduce the expense through "value engineering."
Should the needed savings not be found, the city could still rebid a scaled back pool design and still open the facility next May, Johnson said.
Pool designer Treadwell Jones of Larkin Aquatic told the Council he had worked on a number of pools with his firm, including one in Lawrence. The designer said his early conversations with Vanum representatives made him confident a re-bid wouldn't be necessary.
"They seemed willing to work with us," he said. "They came up with some good suggestions. I think we can get there pretty easily. We'll have to pay that pound of flesh, but I'm pretty confident we can come up with a pool close to that in our construction documents."
The bid included a 10-percent contingency, Johnson said. Should construction move forward with few problems, that contingency could be reduced and additional features added to the pool, he said