Minor changes equal big savings for auditorium projectWORTHINGTON — A tweak here, a tweak there, and the Memorial Auditorium project should move a little closer to its original budget.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — A tweak here, a tweak there, and the Memorial Auditorium project should move a little closer to its original budget.
Changes to the plan — which could decrease the total project cost to an estimated $1.9 million — include a reduction in the quantity and complexity of cabinets and removal of a countertop and mirrors in the concessions area; a slight change in the roof plan that will require less roofing installation; and a possible change from etched glass to wrought iron for the guard rail on the stairs. Steve Robinson, the senior professional engineer at Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc., said a revised project budget is expected next week.
“I don’t want to get rid of these details that seem insignificant and it just becomes a functional building,” said Diane Graber, a member of the Memorial Auditorium Renovation Committee (MARC) at a December meeting to review the changes. “Somehow those (details) always get lost in the ultimate plan; that scares me.”
Other modifications include elimination of the following: the automatic sprinkler system in the auditorium, on-site storm water drainage, restroom and plumbing demolition and adding insulation in the rear stage wall. The original carpet pattern may also be replaced with a more modest pattern; and the wall, floor tile and countertop finishes will be modified.
Dave Cihasky, project architect at SEH said allowing a more flexible time frame for contractors should also help drive down bids.
“More important is the duration we allow for contractors to review plans,” he said.
The project’s tight timeline, with the start of construction slated for May 2009 — only seven months after the project was approved — had been criticized by some from the beginning.
After noting the total project cost was $2.1 million — $600,000 more than was expected — the Worthington City Council voted at its April 27 meeting to reject all bids for construction and solicit new bids early next year, after the scope of the project had been re-evaluated.
MARC has been working with city staff and project architect SEH to cut costs for the $1.5-million endeavor, which includes renovations to the existing auditorium and the addition of a 4,400-square-foot lobby and reception area that will include new restrooms and a new ticket booth.
The project is being funded by a half-percent local option sales tax, which was approved by Worthington voters during the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.