Costs estimates for the new Crown Community Center rose again this week to $52.9 million.
Price estimates for the project had ranged from $20 million to $55 million six years ago when the city was considering proposals from private firms to build and operate the facility.
After the city rejected those proposals, it explored renovating the existing building at a cost of around $17 million — but eventually rejected that plan in favor of seeking private donations to partially fund a new building that would be owned and operated by the city.
Cost estimates for the city-owned building, initially pegged at around $40 million, hit $46 million last fall as the city worked with its architect and construction management firm to refine cost estimates.
City officials this week said factors leading to the latest cost estimate included:
- Discovery of poor soils at the site requiring installation of deep foundations and a structural slab, rather than the previously planned standard footings and slab on grade, for an extra $1.5 million in costs.
- Addition of public art to the project, to comply with the city’s 1 percent for art ordinance, with a projected cost of $400,000.
- Contingency cost increases based on discussion with the project construction manager, $1.4 million.
- Steel price increases, $500,000.
- More detailed development of the construction documents, $600,000.
Lara Biggs, of the city’s Public Works Agency, said the city plans to award a guaranteed maxium price contract for construction of the center to Bulley & Andrews, the firm now performing pre-construction services for the project.
She said that contract format will speed construction and limit risk.
It would include contingency amounts to address fluctuations in bid prices and design decisions.
Any remaining contingency funds would be returned to the city at the end of the contract.
Project goals including having 15 percent of all construction trade hours worked on site performed by Evanston residents and having a quarter of all work done by minority, women-owned or Evanston-based businesses.
The new center will have two ice rinks, a gymnasium, a branch library and other facilities.
Pete Giangrecco, from Friends of Robert Crown, the group doing private fundraising for the project, said the group has raised almost $11 million in cash and pledges and hopes to hit a new target of $15 million by the end of the year.
The city now anticipates having to issue $22.5 million in 25-year bonds for the project this year and an additional $20 million in 2019.
By the time the bonds are fully paid off in 2044, the cost of the borrowing would total $71.8 million.
The city hopes to award the construction contract for the project next month and begin construction this summer, with the new building scheduled to open in Fall 2019.
The existing building would then be demolished and new artificial-turf fields and other site work would get underway, with the fields scheduled to open in July 2020.