Steamboat City Council concerned as cost of replacing child care facility goes up 146 percent | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat City Council concerned as cost of replacing child care facility goes up 146 percent

A rendering shows what the new Igloo will look like.

— Another price hike in the project to replace the city's Igloo child care facility is giving the Steamboat Springs City Council the chills.

The price jump is the latest in a long series of cost increases on a project that city officials originally estimated would cost $340,000 to complete just three years ago.

Tuesday's news of the project cost creeping up to $837,792 means the overall cost of the Igloo project has grown by a whopping 146 percent since a previous city council first allocated funding for it in 2014.

"I'm worried about what else we're going to find," Councilwoman Kathi Meyer said as she expressed concern about the project's ever-growing price tag.

Only 30 percent of the project's current cost is the actual modular building that will replace the 32-year-old Igloo.

The bulk of the cost would go toward site work required to bring the building three feet above a floodplain, to construct new sidewalks on the site and to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

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City officials are now holding off on pulling the trigger on the project at the request of council, which wants more information about project costs before advancing it any further.

"As the price increases, there are legitimate questions to be asked," Alan Lind, the city's director of general services, said Thursday.

Meyer said she would be looking to Lind, a relatively new hire at the city, to possibly bring some fresh ideas for the project that could save the city money.

“My concern is this is the time to stop and ask questions and see if there are any alternatives, for the building, not for the child care program,” she said.

Councilman Scott Ford has opposed the Igloo replacement. He has questioned whether the city should be in the child care business.

The project would replace the current 1,380-square foot modular Igloo with a new, 2,280-square-foot modular.

City officials have said they will likely need to end child care programming due to the deteriorating condition of the current Igloo if it isn't replaced or improved.

The latest Igloo replacement price woes stem in part from the closure of a building plant in Wyoming, where the new Igloo modular was going to be built.

Now the modular has to come from a plant in Houston, Texas, at an additional $4,000 shipping cost.

Bids from subcontractors also came in about $20,000 higher than anticipated due to such things as contractor fees.

The biggest price jumps in the overall project came last year when the city learned it would have to add a sidewalk on the site and also do significant site work to build the Igloo up above the floodplain.

City officials have told the council they've looked at other alternatives but kept coming back to the current proposed site next to Howelsen Ice Arena, which the city owns.

Of the project's $837,792 price tag, $244,950 is going toward the actual modular building that will replace the Igloo.

About $431,887 will be paid to Fox Construction for work related to the site and the construction of sidewalks.

City Manager Gary Suiter acknowledged replacing the Igloo has been a "difficult" project for the city.

Originally used as a warming hut and office for the outdoor ice arena, the Igloo became a temporary home for youth programs in 2002.

The Igloo is currently licensed to hold programming for as many as 15 children, age 2 1/2 to 6.

The new modular would bring several changes and benefits to the programming, including computer and internet access and aesthetics geared toward multiple age groups instead of the current design geared toward preschoolers.

A new Igloo would also include more storage space, office space and restrooms.

City officials estimate the change would allow the city to provide a better environment for child care programs and also increase annual programming revenue by about $19,000.

After the project price tag ballooned from $340,000 to $543,000 in June 2016, Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet offered a mea culpa to the city's elected officials.

“We readily admit we could have done some better planning," he said at the time.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Where is the bulk of the Igloo replacement money going?

Fox Construction ($471,629)

$131,513 site work

$69,626 excavating

$36,127 concrete

$30,855 construction fee

$21,976 shingles

$20,400 Americans with Disabilities Act infrastructure

$17,369 heavy timber construction

$16,411 exterior decks

$14,531 paving

$12,000 landscape

$12,000 bonds

$11,598 concrete sidewalks

$77,223 All other

Modular building ($254,000)

Other costs include utilities ($33,757) and architectural and engineering services ($48,349)

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