Windsor Public Library’s ambitious $7.9-million plan to build or expand three branches, one after another, is in danger of getting gummed up by suddenly rising construction costs.
The most recent example of unexpected price inflation for local public projects are the original bids received for converting the ground floor of the city’s Pelissier Street parking garage, which range from $888,000 to $1.1 million for a job that was estimated to cost $507,000. After working with the low bidder to find ways to reduce costs, council next month will be asked to approve a $795,980 expenditure.
Library CEO Kitty Pope said when she saw the jump in pricing for the parking garage project, she became even more worried about bids coming in higher than anticipated for the library’s next-up project: the $2.5-million John Muir branch planned for a shuttered 1921 fire hall on Mill Street in the city’s west end.
The first library project, the new $2.5-million W.F. Chisholm branch, which consolidates the South Walkerville and Remington Park branches as well as the library’s automotive archives in a 6,500-square-foot addition to the Optimist Community Centre, has been on budget and ahead of schedule, according to Pope. But the John Muir project — which was to start shortly after the Chisholm branch opens in the fall — could be delayed due to pricing concerns.
“We know if we went out right now (issuing tenders), we’d end up with a tender well in excess of what it should be,” she said, blaming booming construction activity for the inflated prices on tenders.
“I think it’s good for Windsor, it’s kind of a good story. But the flip side is some things may be delayed until we can get quotes where they should be.”
Windsor Construction Association president David Petretta said rising costs are a “huge concern for our industry” and for clients who have to shoulder the costs.
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