Town Staff had contingencies pulled from HMC’ Architects’ cost estimates in 2016
During a meeting on November 23, 2016, Town of Mammoth Lakes (TOML) Public Works Director Grady Dutton and Parks and Recreation Director Stuart Brown told HMC Architects to remove “the project contingency” budget item from the cost estimate the firm compiled for the Multi-Use Facility (MUF) at Mammoth Creek Park West.
According to meeting notes obtained by The Sheet in a public records request, HMC’s principles Chris Taylor and Kyle Peterson replied that, “in our professional experience, a 10 percent contingency is prudent at this point in a project estimate.” At that time, HMC Architects estimated the MUF was, at minimum, an $11.9 million project.
On May 17, 2017, Mammoth’s Town Council voted to authorize funding for the project. Council made that decision based on information provided by Town staff at the time. Staff indicated that “value engineering” had reduced the cost of the project to approximately $9.5 million, which still left an anticipated $1.5 million funding gap.
On September 4, 2017, Dutton announced at a Recreation Commission meeting that the Multi-Use Facility at Mammoth Creek Park West would cost, at minimum, $1 million more than the $9.5 million originally forecast by HMC Architects.
On September 4, Dutton also reported that HMC Architects had told Town staff the facility’s roof was slated to be $1 million more than originally forecast, and fluctuations in California’s construction market were expected to raise costs further.
Overall, Dutton said the project could cost as much as $12 million.
On October 4, Town Council authorized the issuance of $5.5 million in bond debt for the MUF.
At a September 4 meeting, Recreation Commissioner Sean Turner said, “I feel bait and switched,” to which Dutton responded, “They’re [HMC Architects] truly sorry. They made a mistake. It wasn’t intentional,” implying that HMC Architects had already taken responsibility for the lack of contingency built into the $9.5 million cost estimate on which Town Council based its decision to authorize bond debt to finance construction of the MUF in May.