Friday, March 7, 2014
By Glenn Jordan firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND — The locker rooms are down from nine to six. An elevator that would have caused a structural headache is gone. A $900,000 renovation of the home team locker room has been set aside. Seats will be refurbished rather than replaced.
And there's talk of eliminating the $2.5 million "Sky Club," with its 250 luxury seats.
Those were the major cuts proposed Tuesday by builders and engineers who were asked to bring down the cost of the Cumberland County Civic Center's renovation after projected construction costs came in too high.
Voters passed a $33 million bond last year for the renovation, with about $28 million of that earmarked for construction. Recent construction estimates for the project's "wish list" came in around $35 million.
The building committee of the Civic Center's board of trustees met with architects, engineers and builders for nearly three hours Tuesday morning at the Civic Center. They discussed options, priorities and how choices would affect the bottom line while keeping the project on schedule to be completed in October 2013.
"A lot has changed in the last two weeks," said Rob Frank of the engineering firm WBRC. "But we are right on target for where we need to be with schematic design."
Joe Bruno, head of the building committee, said, "This is only our second look. ... We'll probably have two more bites at this apple."
The building committee will review the proposed changes and decide what to include and what to drop at a meeting June 13, officials said.
Jon DiCentes, senior project manager for Cianbro Corp., outlined a project in three phases, which would begin in August, January and April.
The first phase would cost $4.7 million and include a reconfigured loading dock and the northeast corner of the building. Much of Center Street between Free and Spring would be closed for eight weeks.
The second phase would cost $3.4 million and include extensive renovation of the Civic Center's Free Street entrance. Part of Free Street would be closed for 10 weeks.
The third, and most costly, phase is projected to cost $18.5 million and last for 22 weeks, with lane closures on Spring and Center streets. Many of the improvements to mechanical and electrical systems, and to seating, would be done then.
Two items remain separate from the phases, but within the overall construction budget:
n Building four mechanical rooms inside the arena's bowl for air-handling units, at a cost of $638,000.
n Building the Sky Club near the rafters to seat about 250 in a horseshoe-shaped area, for $2.5 million.
Neal Pratt, chairman of the trustees, likened the Sky Club to the Monster Seats atop the left field wall at Fenway Park.
"It would be very high-end, premium seating," Pratt said. "The big question is, can we sell it? If we can sell it, it will pay for itself very quickly."
To answer that question, the trustees hired a consulting firm, CSL International, based in Dallas.
"If you decided we don't need the Sky (Club), we're under budget considerably," said Donald Dethlefs of the architectural firm Sink Combs Dethlefs.
A renovation of the home team locker room, expected to cost $888,000, could be done during the third phase, but is no longer part of the construction budget.
Brian Petrovek, CEO/managing owner of the Portland Pirates, who play their home hockey games at the Civic Center, declined to comment on that change, saying, "We're working through that."
The Civic Center's locker rooms would double from three to six -- but their total area would drop by 200 square feet.
"It's still a work in progress," said Jim Leo, the Civic Center's operations manager. "I'm not unsatisfied. There's some issues we still have to deal with."
The building committee plans to meet again on June 6, one day after workers are scheduled to take boring samples to determine whether ledge will present problems with the project.
The meeting June 13 should finalize construction plans in time for work to start Aug. 1.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: email@example.com