Rising costs for construction materials have prompted a $5 million increase in the budget for the Division of Campus Recreation renovation and expansion project.
In a Feb. 21 teleconference, the UI Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved a proposal to increase the project budget from $77.6 million to $82.7 million. According to the proposal, prices for steel, steel components and other materials have escalated substantially since the board approved the project budget in January 2002, and the additional funds are necessary to proceed with Phase II of the renovations to the Intramural Physical Education Building.
The increase was predicated on revised cost estimates and current material prices provided by VOA Associates of Chicago, the project architect/engineer.
“Since we started the Phase I project in FY03, steel prices have been going up almost monthly,” said Gary Miller, associate director of operations in the Division of Campus Recreation. “It’s really just been out of sight. When you refer to steel, everybody just thinks of steel beams, but steel is pervasive throughout the entire structure. We’re looking at every facet of the Phase II project to see where we can save some money, and we’re redesigning or considering different methods.”
Miller said that the modifications being considered for cost containment are aesthetic – such as less expensive floor coverings, lighting fixtures and exterior features – that will not reduce the facility’s square footage or affect the amount of program space.
Now that the board has approved the budgetary increase, the remainder of the IMPE project will likely be re-bid some time during early May, in hopes of presenting contract proposals to the trustees at their May 19 meeting. If the trustees approve those proposals, construction might begin by late June or early July, Miller said.
Although the board approved the budgetary increase, it also stipulated that the entire project be accomplished without further increasing student fees. The project is being funded by incremental increases in the students general fee, which they approved by a referendum in November 2001.
CRCE, which is currently under construction, was expanded from 35,000 to 110,000 square feet, adding a leisure pool, locker rooms, multipurpose rooms, expanded areas for cardio- and weight-training and a 1/8-mile indoor track, among other amenities. The facility will be substantially completed within the next few weeks and will likely reopen during the week of March 21.
“We’re anxiously awaiting the opening of CRCE because it is truly going to be a great, great facility for the entire campus,” Miller said.
A grand opening may be held in the fall when all work on the facility is finished, Miller said.
If all proceeds as planned with the bidding and approval process for Phase II of the IMPE project, Miller said that IMPE, with the exception of the east wing, will probably close in mid-summer and not reopen until some time in 2006 or 2007. The newly remodeled east wing will temporarily house strength and conditioning equipment and provide locker facilities and several courts for volleyball and basketball while the rest of IMPE is under construction.
The renovations at IMPE will expand the facility from 220,000 to 340,000 square feet and will add five basketball courts, for a total of 13, and upgrade the existing indoor pool and locker rooms. Other new amenities will include a co-ed spa, an indoor climbing wall, an expanded sundeck on the outdoor pool, a one-sixth mile indoor track, an expanded fitness area and seven new multipurpose rooms.
To view photos of the construction project or for additional information, visit the Division of Campus Recreation Web site.