September 24, 2020MEREDITH — The Meredith Library project is looking at around $106,000 in extra costs because of ledge in the new parking lot and principals are asking the town for a little help in covering this.
Library project manager Michael Bruss talked to the selectmen on Monday about the increase in costs from the parking lot and asked if they would be willing to provide some relief.
He said the project overall has been going at a reasonable pace overall, though they ran into some significant issues with ledge.
They had budgeted around $100,000 for ledge exploration and removal on the library property and had already dug test borings twice. They had not been able to do test borings on the Price property because the purchase had been delayed and they couldn't do so until the house was taken down. When they started building on the Price property, they hit ledge. While Ambrose Construction gave them a $17,000 discount, the cost to remove ledge on the Price property cost around $106,000.
He said when the library trustees agreed to take on the parking lot as part of the library project, the initial estimate for the parking lot was around $185,000. Those numbers were revised to around $210,000 to $215,000, which was the budget that went to town meeting. Because of the increase for the ledge removal, that budget is now looking closer to $313,360, including the cost of the total project and associated fees.
"We're doing reasonably well, but we have some associated unanticipated costs which will eat pretty heavily into the project contingency, so we're just looking to see if there's any way the town would consider any cost share on the overage portion of the parking lot," Bruss said.
Board Chair Ray Moritz said the project had $271,000 for the construction management contingency and $155,000 for the owner's project manager's contingency, making for a combined contingency of around $426,000
"Now I'm looking at it and it's $282,000, what happened?" he said.
Bruss said when the bidding started they were getting numbers that were higher than anticipated. To help keep costs down the project principals negotiated with the company to meet the budget while reducing the construction management contingency to $200,000. Bruss said the trustees also decided to reduce the owner's project manager's contingency to $86,000 in order to keep the project under $5 million.
Selectman Jeanie Forrester asked what would happen if the selectmen didn't agree to provide any relief. Bruss said they still have enough money to cover the overages and it appears most of the unforeseen factors have already been identified.
Selectman Mike Pelczar said ledge was broken for the project to install utilities while the rest was for a drainage system. He said installing the parking lot is not just a matter of flattening and paving, they also had to install a stormwater drainage system around six feet deep.
"Everywhere they went, they hit ledge," Bruss said. "They had to either blast it or ship it out."
Pelczar said they would have had to deal with the parking lot anyway and anything in the ground is always the biggest unknown. He said from his own experiences in construction this looks like an example of a project that got underway too soon.
Bruss said they were pushing the project forward with the concern about the delays in the Price property. He said they wanted to get structures in the ground before winter, though in hindsight they would have waited.
"I've built a lot of parking lots. I've never run into this kind of ledge associated with a parking lot, but live and learn," Bruss said.
Selectman Nate Torr asked if there is any money left in the town's municipal parking expendable trust, Town Manager Phil Warren said that fund still has a balance of $195,018. Members of the board agreed that this would be the best fund to use, especially as that parking lot will be a municipal lot. Bruss said the trustees are not asking that the town take on the whole cost, but are asking if they can share the cost.
Moritz asked the board members to consider how much they would be willing to share from that fund for a formal decision at the next board meeting.