Ice rink price increases by $500,000

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

The Juneau Assembly accepted a $2 million bid for Juneau's first indoor ice rink Monday, but the city will have to find about $500,000 to cover increasing costs, officials said.

The Assembly approved a $1,989,000 bid submitted by Coogan Construction to build the nearly 29,000-square-foot Treadwell Arena in Savikko Park in Douglas. But fluctuating costs drew fire from Assembly member Dale Anderson, who voted against the bid award.

"I'm tired of bids coming in for money we didn't plan to spend," he said. "I'm 100 percent behind this project, it should have been built 20 years ago. But I'm real upset over the cost escalation of the project."

The bid was approved in a 6-2 vote. Anderson was joined by Randy Wanamaker in voting no.

The city has enough money to build the rink building, but will have to find extra funding to open it for skating by November, city Engineering Director John Stone said. The total cost of the ice rink has increased from a $3 million estimate last year to about $3.5 million today, he said.

The construction award was $239,000 higher than expected, a new building code mandates more sprinklers, permits are more expensive, and the city's costs to manage the contract have increased, Stone said.

In addition, the city expects to pay $121,000 more for inspection and private consulting. The city earlier thought those services would be donated, Stone said. The refrigeration equipment cost $30,000 less than expected.

"We haven't changed the fundamental concept from what we had last winter," he said. "Not a lot of drifting in scope occurred."

Stone will discuss the cost changes in detail at an Assembly Public Works and Facilities Committee meeting at noon Wednesday at City Hall, he said.

Assembly member Don Etheridge, who has voiced objections to city project cost changes in the past, said the Assembly still has time to get answers about the ice rink cost increases.

"I, too, have been very disappointed in some of the things I see coming out of the engineering department ... but we definitely have improved from where we were before," he said. "I do feel we needed to move forward with this project at this time."

Costs may be going up because there are more projects for contractors to bid on, Etheridge said. The Juneau-Douglas High School renovation, the Bartlett Regional Hospital remodel and a new NOAA fisheries center at Lena Point are scheduled for construction this year.

The city estimated the base bid for the ice rink building would be $1,750,000. The three bids that came in ranged from $1,989,000 to $2,197,311. Contractor Lloyd Coogan of Juneau said he's not sure why there was a difference from the city's estimate, but added that public works jobs in Juneau are very competitive.

"Juneau is as competitive as it ever has been around here. There are low margins," he said.

The concrete slab under the rink surface, which likely will be the flattest in Juneau, makes the project a bit more complicated, he said. Larger construction projects such as the hospital, high school and NOAA center likely will go to firms out of town, Coogan said.

City officials plan to ask the Assembly to move funds from a 1998 ballot proposition and a park improvement project at Fish Creek to cover the shortfall. The Parks and Recreation Department expects the city will receive grant funds to pay for Fish Creek park improvements, according to a city memo.

Joanna Markell can be reached at

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