Senior Center expansion delayed for up to a year |

Senior Center expansion delayed for up to a year

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer

With an estimated budget overrun of $300,000, construction on the Carson City Senior Center expansion is postponed for up to a year.

When the original architectural plans were submitted, the project was as much as $1 million more than the $3.1 million budget. A construction manager helped trim the overrun to $300,000.

But Senior Center directors say they must find ways to cut more costs, even if it means replanning the expansion.

The project includes a larger dining room, more meeting rooms, offices and other large rooms, as well as adding a second story with offices, meeting rooms, computer lab and a large multi-purpose room.

“We worked and worked and worked at getting those costs down,” said Bruce Scott, chairman of the Senior Center Board. “We made significant progress, but we’re not where we need to be. We know what we’d like to have, and we hoped we would be able to afford it.”

Scott said senior center and city officials are looking at options including finding more money, scaling back the building, deleting the second story, or building the project in phases.

“We really don’t want any of those alternatives, but that’s where we are right now,” Scott said.

Senior Center staff had planned to move their operation to Fuji Park’s exhibit hall through the summer to accommodate construction, but construction on the Beverly Drive site likely won’t get under way until next spring. The project has been estimated to take between 15 months and two years to complete.

Ultimately, Scott said, the delay may mean seniors will have to forfeit the ideal building for the affordable.

“It is really frustrating,” Scott said. “We have folks who have heard for years we’re going to expand the center, and it hasn’t happened.”

Les Groth, chairman of the Senior Center Advisory Council, said while he, too, has been frustrated with the process he wants “it to be done right.”

“I think most of our people are upset about it, and rightly they should be,” Groth said. “As long as they’re getting their meals and they can participate in things — that’s what they want to do anyway. (The expansion) is going to be realized.”

Senior Center Director Janice McIntosh said the center’s use has grown to a point where an “expansion is crucial.”

“We’re looking at anything and everything we can to build the best center we can that will meet our needs,” she said. “We’re going to come up with something. It may mean less square footage, but something has to give.”

The center expansion was Carson City’s first attempt at using construction management to save money on large projects. City Engineer Larry Werner said construction manager Metcalf Builders “saved our bacon.”

Without its help in the design process, Werner said, the project would have been bid without the benefit of a licensed contractor reviewing the plans. The project would have run far over costs and “the push would have been where could we save money, rebid it or start cutting out major functions,” Werner said. This way, Metcalf, which was paid $300,000 for its services, has suggested money-saving alternatives to the architect’s design that trimmed the initial estimates, Werner said.

“We’ve got a fixed budget and what we’re trying to do is match that fixed budget to what the seniors want for that building,” he said.