Town Hall

Gilbert Town Hall has been closed for over a year and is expected to host its first council meeting Jan. 10. (Cecilia Chan)

Council is expected to hold its first meeting Jan. 10 in the newly remodeled Town Hall, which has been shuttered for over a year.

And like most remodeling projects, unexpected expenses popped up for the town and the cost of the redo has increased by 4.7%.

Council recently without comment unanimously approved another $500,000 for the project, the third increase since the 50,000-square-foot building shut down in June 2021 for the major overhaul.

With the Nov. 1 approval, the total cost for the renovation stands at $19.9 million, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison.

“This includes Phase I of the project, completed in 2018, that included renovation of our tax-services division area,” Harrison said in an email. “The project budget includes not just the construction contract but also the design, construction management, furnishing, IT and audio video improvements, etc…”

According to staff, the latest change order was prompted by needed repairs to deteriorated sections of an underground roof-drain line located behind the Council Chamber dais, which collects water from the east part of the roof. The building was constructed in 1992 and has had no substantial renovations since.

“With remodel projects, there are many more unknowns and items that are discovered during construction compared to a ground-up build,” said Jack Gierak, CIP Project supervisor in a report for council.

The significant leak in that drain was discovered following a major rain storm on Oct. 15.

“A section of this pipe was extremely corroded and damaged,” Gierak said. “There are other buried roof drain lines for the building. These are being assessed to determine if additional areas must be repaired and/or replaced.”

Gierak estimated the cost for repairing this unforeseen work at $100,000.

Other new costs included an estimated $120,000 to do the “safety improvements associated with the glazing on the façade and $106,000 for items such as additional power outlets and more LED light fixtures in the parking lot.

The approved funding increase included $100,000 outside of the contract for other potential expenditures that may arise.

“During the move-in and activation of new spaces and systems, unanticipated items arise,” Gierak explained. “The most common of these occur in the areas of security, special systems, audiovisual and technology. This contingency will address these items.”

Harrison said the three change orders since the contract approval now totaled $1.64 million.

The first two increases went for items such as replacing the corroded chilled-water piping in the building and making improvement to building efficiency, external façade repairs, safety and HVAC systems.

At the time the Council discussed the proposed renovation of the aging Municipal Complex in late 2019, the estimated cost was $15.4 million.

Harrison explained that the figure was the estimated project budget before the guaranteed maximum price for the construction contract was developed.

“The awarded GMP in June 2021 totaled approximately $12.4 million,” she said. “At that time, the total project budget was $17.9 million.”

Harrison said that between late 2019 and June 2021, several factors contributed to the project’s overall increased cost. The construction contract alone increased 13.2% to $14 million from the $12.4 million.

“The project was paused during the pandemic, with design not beginning again in earnest until late 2020, during which time the cost of materials and other items had moved,” she said.

“And some key items were added to the scope. These included a new exterior canopy, modernized Council chambers, audio video changes in a post-pandemic/hybrid work world, as well as a new parking area and delivery ramp to the west of the building.

“Again, the total project budget includes design, construction management services and the first phase of the renovation.”

Harrison said a substantial portion of the project is expected to be completed by the end of this month with ribbon-cutting and employee move-in occurring in mid-December.

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