The Mesa Arts Center price tag is on the rise. The city has reached a proposed $3.4 million settlement with contractor Layton Construction, is planning to spend up to $500,000 on additional projects, and cautioned that more unexpected costs could arise down the line.
The settlement, which ensures Mesa will not face legal action, will increase the total project cost 3.6 percent from $94.5 million to $97.9 million.
The settlement, as with the majority of the construction cost, will be funded by the voter-approved "quality-oflife" sales tax. Private donations made up the remaining $3.7 million.
"Clearly it’s disappointing, but we reached an equitable agreement with the contractor and I’m particularly pleased with the indemnification piece of the agreement," Vice Mayor Claudia Walters said.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on the settlement Tuesday.
"We think it’s in the best interest of the city and we’re concerned about the cost and budget, but we got an outstanding project for the money spent and once the public starts using the facility, we think they’ll have the same opinion," City Manager Mike Hutchinson said.
In addition to accepting the settlement, Hutchinson will recommend completing seven "priority one" projects, estimated to cost between $83,500 and $112,000. These include adding safety handrails, the relocation of a few Ikeda Theater seats, a gallery security gate, draperies in the star dressing room, green rooms and musician warm-up areas, a rigging inspection, glass studio modifications and studio curtains and drapes.
The city has also identified four less urgent projects that have an estimated cost between $296,000 and $387,000. These include theater audio needs, dressing room makeup lights, backstage security gates and the repair of a gallery bamboo floor.
Mesa Arts Alliance treasurer Kathye Brown said the alliance will consider using some of its $500,000 in uncommitted donations for the city’s new proposed projects.
The changes will have no effect on the center’s scheduled grand opening on Sept. 17, featuring Michael Crawford of "Phantom of the Opera" fame.
The issues that forced the settlement arose from the design and construction documents, primarily with the steel and electrical subcontractors.
Layton Construction spokesman Alan Rindlisbacher said extra costs are typical with such a unique and complex project.
"For the entire size and scope of the project, it’s a very small percentage of changes," Rindlisbacher said.