Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Ordinance seeks more funding for sports complex renovations

Approved for introduction by the Soldotna City Council during their Oct. 13 meeting, the legislation would put an extra $583,000 toward the project

Renovations at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex will cost a bit more than expected. That’s according to legislation approved for introduction by the Soldotna City Council during their Oct. 13 meeting that would give an extra $583,000 to the project. Improvements to the sports complex, which is 37 years old, are identified in the City of Soldotna’s five-year capital improvement plan.

Burkhart Croft Architects conducted a facility assessment at the sports complex in 2020 and identified seven projects totaling about $6 million in improvements. The council approved $1.5 million for six of the projects the same year and approved almost $150,000 in design services from the company earlier this year.

The Soldotna Regional Sports Complex Major Maintenance and Renovation Project focuses on replacing the existing ceiling over the bleachers and mezzanine, renovating the locker room showers, improving parking and outdoor access, renovating the public entry and offices, replacing the exterior doors and painting the arena walls.

In an Oct. 6 memo to Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen, Project Manager C.O. Rudstrom said that Burkhart Croft Architects completed about 95% of the design work in March. The company then performed a professional cost estimate and determined the project to which the council approved $1.5 million would actually cost $2.4 million.

That price increase, Rudstrom wrote, can be attributed to multiple things including “Unique Market Risk” due to COVID-19, “volatile” material pricing and availability, a short window for construction and an increase in the scope of work for “previously unidentified hazardous materials and ADA code compliance issues.”

The Soldotna Public Works Department recommended postponing the project and spent the summer identifying cost-saving measures and a better time to solicit bids alongside the Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department and Burkhart Croft Architects. Those efforts resulted in a list of ways the city can save money on the project.

For example, Burkhart Croft Architects found a less expensive material that could be used for ceiling replacement, and the price of construction material is stabilizing. Additionally, advertising and bidding the project in fall 2021 with construction planned for summer 2022 would mitigate supply chain issues for contractors and cause fewer conflicts for people using the sports complex.

Since the project started in 2020, however, the digital sign outside the sports complex has died, with Rudstrom writing “it is no longer feasible to repair it.” Furthermore, he said including a new sign as part of the larger renovation efforts will result in a more cohesive design. The new sign is estimated to cost $120,000.

The cost-saving measures in conjunction with the cost of the new sign bring down the new cost estimate from $2.4 million to $2.083 million, leaving a $583,000 funding gap. It is that gap that the city would fill via the legislation up for consideration during the city council’s Oct. 27 meeting.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to testify on the legislation during a public hearing at that meeting.

More information about the project can be found on the City of Soldotna’s website at soldotna.org.

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