PLEASANT HILL -- Local Recreation and Park district leaders' gamble on rebidding the community center project paid off with a lower price.
The board members last week awarded the contact for $8.2 million -- about $1.6 million less than the lowest bid in the first round.
"We're excited," said Dennis Donaghu, board chairman. "There's always a concern that if you go out for a rebid that you wont benefit much, or certainly that you won't benefit as much as you would hope to."
Originally, the board had set an $8.2 million construction budget for the community center, but the lowest bid came in at nearly $9.8 million and the average was $10.1 million. Unwilling to siphon money from Pleasant Oaks Park, the final bond project, the board rejected all the bids.
Before rebidding, board members cut about $850,000 from the project by replacing high-end building materials with standard products and giving up some design elements such as $100,000 self-cleaning glass and $5,000 colored concrete.
Donaghu said the board wants to find money to put a few of those things back in the building, including a $12,000 decorative masonry wall in the lobby that the winning contractor priced much lower than expected.
"That's almost a slam dunk; everybody wants that back," he said.
An elaborate $55,500 entry canopy probably won't return though, he added, because the architect believes digging for the foundation might damage the roots of a
Construction is expected to begin next month, with the goal of opening the community center in fall 2013. The new teen and senior centers are scheduled to open in November.
In 2009, voters approved a $28 million bond to build new teen, senior and community centers, upgrade the fields at Pleasant Oaks Park and remodel restrooms at several parks. The board put the restrooms on an unfunded list two years ago when the estimated cost of the teen center exceeded the amount earmarked for the project in the bond. The Pleasant Oaks Park project has a $4.3 million budget.
"Now that this bid is pretty good at $8.2 million, we're pretty pleased that it won't affect Pleasant Oaks Park," said Bob Berggren, recreation district general manager.
On Friday afternoon, the board held a workshop to review the fundraising plan. Since bond funds can be used only for the buildings, the district needs to raise $1.8 million for furniture. So far, the district has secured $555,000 through foundation grants, donations and naming opportunities for rooms in the new buildings. The teen center received a $64,270 matching grant for furniture from the Danville-based Hedco Foundation.
In April, recreation supervisor Katrina Hunn said they were about $10,000 shy of meeting the match. Last weekend, the district put on its third Blues & Brews festival, a fundraiser for the teen center. Final revenue figures aren't available yet.
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.