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Pricetag of Lander Community Center exceeds estimates

Jun 5, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

The city asked the county to cover the $1 million difference.

Bids for a new Lander Community Center came in $1 million more than early estimates predicted, prompting the city to ask for more money from Fremont County.

During the Fremont County Commission's May 21 meeting, community resource coordinator Gary Michaud said the city opened bids for the community center May 15. The original decades-old center was destroyed in a fire June 29.

The architect's initial estimate was for $4.2 million, but the bids the city received ranged from $5.2 million to $5.9 million, Michaud said.

"We're looking for ways to cut costs to deal with that unexpected cost of the bid, and we're also looking for new sources of revenue," he said.

The shortfall may not be as large as $1 million, though.

A project budget document from Michaud showed the construction costing $5.2 million and architect fees adding $390,000, bringing the total expected cost to just under $5.6 million.

The same budget showed the city projected it could raise $5 million, which would have covered the originally construction cost estimate and some contingencies, Michaud said.

The difference between the new cost estimate and what the city projects it can raise is about $600,000.

Lander councilman Cade

Maestas said Michaud is working with the current low bidder to cut costs. The councilman said the city's estimate was based on $1 million coming from private donors, but he now expects to generate about $1.2 million from that source.

Councilor Cade Maestas said Lander originally asked the county's Capital Improvement Project-Longterm committee for $1 million, but the committee recommended only giving $250,000.

The CIMPL committee coordinates county-funded capital projects costing more than $250,000.

Lander officials had developed a financial plan with CIMPL's $250,000 in mind. Now, with the building looking to cost $1 million more than expected, Maestas said Lander would like an additional $200,000 to $300,000 from CIMPL.

Michaud said the city council had not looked at rebidding the project because it asked for offers during the best time of year and had five quotes, indicating a lower bid would be unlikely.

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