The Yelm City Council unanimously approved a $1.87 million contract with Stetz Construction Tuesday for construction of a community center at Yelm City Park.
The city twice put a bond to voters last year seeking $5.7 million to overhaul Yelm City Park. After those measures failed, the city council voted to move ahead with construction of a community center using funds the city had already secured.
The new community center design includes a 3,300-square-foot multipurpose space to accommodate events with up to 250 people, a commercial kitchen, 23 parking stalls and exterior restrooms to serve park users.
The city received 14 bids for the project, according to City Administrator Shelly Badger. Stetz Construction was the lowest bidder.
The city’s architect, BCRA, checked Stetz Construction’s references and wrote the city a letter of recommendation.
“In our brief discussion with these references, we found nothing in their performance of those contracts, which would cause us to disqualify their bid for this project,” Architect Kent McLaren wrote in the letter.
Councilor Tracey Wood expressed concern over the references, noting that one reference said the company was “Not good at managing subcontractors” and said there were “significant delays — largely due to additional abatement of hazardous materials.”
Two of the three projects referenced have not yet been completed.
“These are projects that are still existing, so we don’t really know what kind of outcome they ended up with,” Wood said, adding he’d like to see if there was additional information on the company’s past projects.
Mayor Ron Harding said the city is required to award Stetz the contract as it is the lowest responsive bidder.
“When we follow the lowest responsive bid process — which, we’re required to do so — those few comments are not enough to reject an application,” Harding said. “We either accept that or don’t move forward with the project.”
Many of those concerns are considered somewhat standard in the industry, he said.
“This firm typically does smaller work,” added Badger. “This will be a large project for this company. These were the most relevant projects … which is why they were chosen. … There was not enough for the architect to recommend against awarding the bid. They were the lowest responsive bidder, which means we cannot reject it unless, as Mayor Harding said, we do not move forward with the project.”
The total project cost, including contingency, construction management, and other necessary costs such as furnishings, security, and insurance, is $2.3 million.
The majority of funding for the project — $1.8 million — comes from the city’s municipal building fund, which includes the amount of a bond issued when the city purchased the library building, Badger said.
“We included money in there for this very project,” she said.
Additionally, $389,326 will come from the cumulative capital reserve fund; $12,000 from the park reserve fund; $11,780 from the water reserve fund, and $58,300 from the sewer reserve fund.
Architecture Contract Amendment
The council also unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s contract with architectural firm BCRA, Inc. The amendment authorizes an additional $30,000 for additional construction management services, according to a staff report from Project Manager Stephanie Ray.
The council authorized BCRA to begin designing the community center in February. The initial scope of work included full design of the project and limited construction management services.
The firm completed the design in August and the project went to bid in September 2014.
BCRA asked for an additional $30,000 for construction administration, increasing the cost from $33,975 to $63,975.
Badger said the increased costs are a result of the evolution of the building’s design.
“The evolution of the design provides more information, more expectation of services,” Badger told the council. “The building … is not just a box. It has architectural features to it,” and additional features such as HVAC and electrical systems, she said.