Park the MUF?
Rising cost estimates threaten viability
At Tuesday’s Mammoth Lakes Recreation Commission Meeting, Public Works Director Grady Dutton delivered sobering news. According to Dutton, building the Multi-Use Facility at Mammoth Creek Park would cost, at minimum, $1 million more than the $9.5 million originally forecast. At most, it could cost an additional $3.5 million.
The news came just after staff announced a PR campaign to re-brand the facility as “The Park” to solicit more local support for the project.
HMC Architects was hired by the Town to prepare a cost estimate ($250,000) and conceptual design ($150,000) for the Multi-Use Facility (MUF) last year. But as Dutton explained, HMC was in the process of negotiating a contract with a construction firm called Butler Manufacturing for the facility’s roof. A few weeks ago, Butler Manufacturing notified HMC Architects that the roof HMC designed for the Multi-Use Facility would cost $1 million more than HMC had originally estimated it would.
Additionally, Dutton reported that HMC Architects told Town staff this month that it should anticipate and budget a nine to ten percent design contingency for the MUF, as construction costs statewide are mushrooming. For a $10.5 million facility, a ten percent design contingency is the equivalent of an additional $1 million. Dutton told Commissioners that HMC Architects is arguing that a cost estimating error of 10 percent is to be expected for a project of this scale. “We are pushing back on that pretty hard,” said Dutton.
“I don’t remember what if any contingency was built into the numbers we looked at initially,” said Commissioner Laurel Martin. “Maybe it’s time we go back and review all of the cost estimates to make sure we cover our bases and don’t get slammed anywhere else.”
On May 17, Town Council voted to commit $8 million to funding construction of the MUF. At the same meeting, Finance Director Rob Patterson warned Councilmembers that those funds would not cover all essential construction costs, and described what the $8 million would fund. “Contingencies” were not on the list.