Truckee officials searching for solutions to aquatic center budget shortfall

Margaret Moran

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Below are the government entities charging a fee to the Rec & Park district regarding the aquatic center and the various permits, studies and mitigation measures associated with it.

Town of Truckee

Truckee Donner Public Utility District

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

Truckee Fire Protection District

Tahoe Truckee Sanitation Agency

TRUCKEE, Calif. — With the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District weighing a funding shortfall for its new aquatic center, alternative construction materials and methods are being examined in an effort to reduce cost without comprising the overall project.

The project, which was estimated to cost $7.24 million, will cost an additional $333,000 due to fees from various local public entities not being waived as originally budgeted by the architect.

To balance the budget, Mark Wilson, project architect and owner of Utah-based Innovate Architecture/Mark Wilson Architects, is suggesting that either a metal building skeleton, or Conform — a framework for pre-finished walls that are then braced and filled in with concrete — be used.

“(Conform) it’s not a typical application that a lot of contractors have, so our concern is, would we have someone from this area to be able to put that system in,” said Steve Randall, district general manager, at Thursday’s TDRPD board meeting. “We feel that it can happen, but that needs to be researched a little bit more.”

Board member Kevin Murphy asked Pat Davison, executive director of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, to help the district find if any local contractors — within a 100 miles — are familiar with Conform, which she agreed to do.

If Conform is used, Wilson estimates a savings of $354,983, due to reductions in labor costs and a new lower cost estimate for the pools and equipment. But, as Randall pointed out, if someone out of state is needed to carry out Conform, the savings might be a moot point.

As for the metal skeleton, which is still being priced with a building manufacturer, Wilson anticipates a savings of $600,000 or more, based on conservative estimates.

Randall said that alternative also has to be researched more, in terms of more definitive cost savings, although both options look promising.

In related action Thursday, the board approved a motion for Randall to write a letter to various public agencies that would charge the district fees for the aquatic center project, asking them to consider modifying the fees.

“Getting waiver of the fees would be, to say the least, very difficult,” Randall cautioned the board.

Murphy said he has talked to some members of the public entities and has received varied answers.

“Some of them are adamant ‘nos,’ others are adamant, ‘bring it to us and we’ll consider it,’” he said.

He later added that even if some of the fees are waived, it would be worth pursuing because that money could then be reinvested into the facility.

“I think it behooves us to try,” said board president Kristin York.

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