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City tries to trim Civic Center costs
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HFR project manager Kris Teubel, left, and HFR general architecture division director Steve Griffin conduct a preconstruction meeting with McMinnville officials to discuss possible cost savings. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

McMinnville officials are attempting to gain some financial savings on a $9.2 million Civic Center project without altering the actual size of the project.

Representatives from both HFR Design and Sain Construction Company met with several Board of Mayor and Aldermen members, city administrator Bill Brock and city Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord to review a list of 43 items, from structural steel at $1.06 million to fire extinguishers and cabinets at $3,600, in an effort to pinpoint savings.

“We always, after we get an executed contract with the general contractor, sit down with them and go over where can we save money without it affecting the performance of the building,” said Steve Griffin, director of HFR’s general architecture division, who was in attendance with HFR project manager Kris Teubel. “Kris and I have looked at some things and we think we can reduce cost with finishes and stuff like that.”

Specifically, he pointed toward cutting back on tiling. 

“Right now, we have tile from floor to ceiling,” said Griffin. “I would take the tile up four feet and not have it floor to ceiling. Tile work is not cheap. It won’t affect the performance of the project and would give you a wainscoting around there to protect the wall. Right now you have just a ceramic tile base. With the new coating systems we have, we can give you a tile-like finish with concrete block or gypsum drywall. Those are the type of things we start thinking about.”

Other finishes are also under consideration for cost savings, such as elevator fixtures, type of bleachers and flooring.

“We have some pretty high-performance athletic flooring system in the design plans,” said Griffin. “The flooring we selected is based on performance. If we can get a system for less money that performs the same way and can have a lifecycle cost and will last long, we will definitely entertain that. We specified three or four manufacturers.”

Cuts here and there will add up, says Griffin.

“It may sound like nickels and dimes, but it will add up,” said Griffin. “You guys, as elected officials, are here under a mandate to fiscally manage conservatively for the city’s constituents. This is a good process and we have a good contractor on board. I’ve worked with Sain Construction going back to 1976. I’ve known Daniel for several years.”

Representing the contract company were Sain representatives Daniel Tidwell, Mike Brewer, and Tony McCracken.

Brock questioned the need for a specialized indoor running track.

“It is a specialized floor running track,” said Brock. “I’ve never seen runners thrilled about running inside. They are outside people. Hot, cold, freezing weather, they are outside running. Walkers will walk inside. Do we need a specialized track? I’d like to know what that track cost. We don’t need a specialized running track for people who walk. They can walk on a concrete floor. We can add that later, if we want it.” 

A multi-purpose room has specialized flooring. At this time, the flooring is cushioned vinyl for when aerobics are held, but the room will also be used for banquets, conferences, etc. 

“I’m sure that’s a huge expense,” said Brock. “We could go with carpet. A good grade of carpet would be just as good. I’m hunting dollars. It may hurt a little bit, but it’s just going to have to hurt.” 

The cost difference if those two floorings were changed is unknown. By the list, “rough carpentry” cost is set at $196,600 and hardwood floors cost $124,600. The track is listed at $35,100. Vinyl base is listed at $45,400. 

Officials suggested the removal of tap fees of $5,000, landscaping at $4,900 (both those can be conducted in-house by the city), a $5,000 plaque to list the names of current city officials, an electronic sign (cost unknown due to it being included with $34,000 for all signs inside and outside the building), and a $10,700 money vault to hold cash until it can be deposited the following day.

The cost savings with the suggested changes will be generated and presented to city officials.