ZEPHYRHILLS — The general contractor overseeing construction of the new library says the most it will cost to complete the project is $2.49 million — about $7,500 less than the last estimate.
George Goodspeed of AD Morgan presented the City Council with a detailed plan for the project Monday; council members said they will wait to vote on it until their next meeting to give themselves time to study it.
Goodspeed acknowledged that the savings is not a huge amount, but said planners are still looking for ways to cut costs and noted there is a $65,000 contingency fund built into the plan that goes back to the city if it is not spent.
If the council approves the plan March 10, the new library should be complete and open to patrons by January, Goodspeed said.
The project has proved frustrating for council members and others involved, particularly when Goodspeed and Phil Trezza of Harvard Jolly Architects informed them two months ago that the project was already 30 percent over budget. The cost for a new 4,200-square-foot library was estimated at $1.5 million when the council voted in late 2012 to spend Penny for Pasco sales tax revenue to build it. As plans unfolded, the price inched up to $1.7 million; in December, it jumped to $2.55 million.
Trezza said then the cost could be trimmed to about $1.8 million if the council agreed to go with a painted stucco exterior instead of the desired brick and cast stone; library director Vicki Elkins urged them to stick with the original plan, noting that Penny for Pasco funds designated more than six years ago for the library project have routinely been diverted to other projects. City Manager Jim Drumm said there was enough money in the Penny reserves to cover the additional costs, and council members voted unanimously to stay with the brick exterior.
Much of the additional cost, Goodspeed said in December, results from ground work problems that were discovered during an engineering inspection, which came after the bid was awarded to his firm.
Initially, they thought some of the new library's underground infrastructure could tie in with the existing facility's system; a closer look, however, revealed a disparity in ground levels, which is costly to remedy, he said.