Parking deck cost estimates over budget

An early rendering shows what preliminary designs predict the new parking deck could look like at the corner of Spring Street and School Avenue.

Courtesy, City of Fayetteville

Cost estimates for Fayetteville’s downtown parking deck are $1.9 million over budget, officials said Tuesday.

The three-story deck, set to be built at Spring Street and School Avenue, was originally expected to cost about $6.8 million. With 60 percent of the preliminary design drawings now complete, the updated estimate is $8.7 million.

Jeremy Pate, who was appointed as the new project manager for the parking deck after David Jurgens resigned, said several factors led to the overall increase.

For starters, Pate said concrete materials and labor costs have gone up $200,000 since late 2012 when the initial estimates were given.

“We’ve seen about a 10 to 15 percent increase in the region in concrete materials alone,” said Pate.

Updated cost estimates for replacement of the Walton Arts Center’s administrative offices – which must be demolished to make room for the new deck – have increased from $400,000 to $623,000, he said.

Pate said design changes to allow for a possible row housing development along the east side of the deck also contributed to an increase in costs.

“There are other increases that aren’t so apparently explained and they certainly deserve a more detailed examination,” said Pate. “And that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”

Since receiving the updated estimates last week, Pate said engineers have already identified $417,000 in potential savings by reducing the size of a rainwater harvesting tank, redesigning a pipe system, removing some bank shoring and underpinning, and modifying the electrical system.

Another $340,000 in savings could come from realization of the row house idea, which would be developed independently and would replace the east liner building that’s currently included in the deck design plans.

Regardless of any savings opportunities, the project will still be over budget without some “pretty dramatic” design changes, Pate said.

In other words, if the plans aren’t scaled back, city staff and aldermen will need to find a new funding source to account for the overages.

Pate said he hopes to have an updated estimate and some additional recommendations by May 13.

He said the plan is still to solicit construction bids for the project sometime in June in order to have the deck open by the end of 2015.