Creative arts building opening now projected for November
While the goal of a May 2012 completion date is long passed and the hope of opening in time for fall classes is a distant glimmer, community college officials are hopeful they can occupy the creative arts building by early November.
Bill Dechant, the Haywood Community College director of campus development, told the county commissioners Monday the construction completion date has moved to Oct. 5. It should take another month to get the final inspections and paperwork so the building can be cleared for occupancy.
At that point, continuing education class can be scheduled to meet in the new $8.3 million facility. Professional crafts classes won't start until after the holidays, simply because it would be too disruptive to move when classes are in session, he said.
Dechant was at yet another county commissioner meeting to get change orders approved. Even though the project is being done by the community college, the county is obligated to cover the debt, so all changes must be approved by not only the state construction office and college board of trustees, but by the commissioners as well.
There seven change order requests Monday, six of which added nearly $44,000 to the building cost, and one that involved a $10,577 contract reduction.
As with past change orders, the commissioners observed it appeared to be an oversight on the part of the architect, Innovative Designs, that led to the extra cost.
Commissioner Kevin Ensley noted that at least $35,000 of the requested changes appeared to be because of oversights in the initial design and asked Dechant to relay the county's concern to the college trustees.
"Our board is concerned about architect mistakes," he said, "and we need to make sure they stand up to this."
The Monday changes were part of a long litany of changes Dechant and other college administrators have requested since the project first began in March 2011.
The change that particularly vexed county leaders was an early January request for an extra $227,000 to add a fire pump house, a fire pump and associated plumbing, landscaping and electrical work that were not part of the base bid.
That change was because the architect plan considered the water pressure measurements at the property edge on Freedlander Drive, but not at the elevation where the new structure is being built, commissioners were told at the time.
Monday's change orders included $17,542 for additional sheetrock and metal stud framing; $4,020 for a retaining wall at a generator pad; $11,039 for an exterior patio floor topping revision; $4,088 for additional storm drainage at a retaining wall; $6,738 for concrete curbing replacement and $550 for cooling tower cleaning.
The $10,557 street light deletion deducted labor from the construction contract and will include adding lights at a later date.
At an earlier commissioner meeting, Dechant said the time to work out the differences about project costs will be toward the end of the project and before any final payment is made. The state construction office, which oversees state building projects, has been made aware of the problems and will be part of the negotiation process when a tally is made of which party should absorb which cost.
Commissioners expressed concerns that the change orders may be indicative of problems that could crop up down the road, something Dechant said shouldn't be a worry.
"I think the construction is very well done," he said. "As far as workmanship, there is no problem with that."
Other than the nearly quarter of a million oversight found early on, Dechant said the other change orders are pretty typical of for projects this size.
"We not talking about going over contingency, and I don’t see any problems coming up," he said.
The project is being financed with proceeds from a quarter-cent local option sales tax approved by county voters in 2008 to address building needs at the college. The new center will replace the current Professional Crafts building and provide additional space for expanded programs.
Once complete, the new creative arts building will offer more than 40,000 square feet of space, which will include classes for the woodworking program, clay arts, jewelry making and weaving as well as space for computer labs, an editing room for digital photography and a design studio.
The new facility will also include general classrooms and will be the site of numerous continuing education classes.