Cost estimate drops for Sammamish Community Center

April 23, 2014

By Ari Cetron

New: April 23, 11:16 a.m.

Design is complete on the Sammamish Community Center, and the estimated price tag has dropped by about $300,000 to $34.2 million.

Parks Director Jessi Bon updated the City Council on the status of the project at the April 14 council meeting.

Bon cautioned that costs are just estimates, and the real price won’t be known until the bids are opened May 14.

An artist’s rendering shows the front entrance of the Sammamish Community Center, as seen from the plaza between City Hall and the library. When built, the front of the building will not have the YMCA logo on it as it does in this drawing.  Courtesy city of Sammamish

An artist’s rendering shows the front entrance of the Sammamish Community Center, as seen from the plaza between City Hall and the library. When built, the front of the building will not have the YMCA logo on it as it does in this drawing. Courtesy city of Sammamish

Bon said the city’s estimator has reported several large construction firms are finishing up other projects and will be looking for work, so she is hoping they will make aggressive bids. She noted the city had fielded calls for information from both out-of-state and internationally-based contractors.

“Anecdotally, I am enthusiastic,” she said.

The price was able to come down largely because a contingency fund set aside for extra design work was not used, Bon said.

Some parts of the project have been shifted around. An optional fitness mezzanine got moved into the project’s base bid, since engineers realized parts of it would be structurally required.

Other parts of the overall project, such as a waterslide, a larger gym and a two-lane running track, are still considered optional.

Another option, tiling the pool deck area, has also been added at the request of the YMCA, which will operate the facility. Bon said the estimate is $77,000 for the tiling.

She noted that the Y likes to have its pol areas tiled, since it looks nicer. However, due to the expense, that is only done rarely. If the pool deck isn’t tiled, it will be made of brushed concrete, Bon said.

Councilman Ramiro Valderrama asked if the city could do anything to give preference to more local contractors, or at least people from within the state.

Fireworks

Sammamish’s annual Fourth of July fireworks are typically launched from right about where the community center is planned to sit. Parks Director Jessi Bon said the city should still be able to launch from that area this year, since the project will be relatively early in construction.
Also, once the building is open, the city will have some options for how to launch the display, Bon said.
But in 2015, while construction is well underway, Bon noted the display will be tricky and she does not yet have a plan.
“Next year, I fully admit we have a challenge,” Bon said.

City Manager Ben Yazici noted that under state law the city must chose the most responsible lowest bidder. However, it is left to the city to determine what “responsible” means. The city can disqualify contractors who haven’t worked on projects of this size, he noted. They also might be able to knock out those that haven’t demonstrated they know how to work in the soil and weather conditions in the area.

He said that does sometimes happen, and the city has rejected the lowest bidder on a few occasions during his tenure as city manager because they were not qualified.

 

On the inside

Bon said the Y is already working to develop its programming for what sorts of things will be available in the community center once it is opened. The Y held a community meeting in March to gather feedback, and will likely hold another meeting in the fall, Bon said.

“The Y does not bring in canned programming,” she said.

She said she expects the Y to announce its initial programming lineup in early 2015, a few months before the community center opens. At the same time, the Y will begin its membership drive.

Under the terms of the agreement with the Y, Sammamish will own the community enter and the Y will operate it. Sammamish residents will have their joining fee waived, but will still need to pay the standard monthly fee to access most of the community center.

There are a pair of community rooms which will be available to non-Y members for use as meeting spaces.

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