CONWAY — The city of Conway is going back to the drawing boards, literally, after getting a $302,000 bid to build a concession stand/bathroom facility designed for it by architects.
The city only has $185,000 to build the facility at the city recreation complex on Mill Pond Road. Councilman Tom Anderson, a builder, has studied the architect’s plans and believes the cost can be trimmed to $200,000 to $250 ,000, but city administrator Bill Graham said he is reluctant to dip into the city’s reserve fund to get extra cash.
He said the city is embarking this year on the construction of a new public safety facility and has budgeted $5 million for it. He indicated that he won’t be surprised if there are cost overruns in that project and said he doesn’t want to go to the reserve funds for two projects in such a short time. If one is to need extra money, Graham said he’d prefer it be the public safety building.
Councilwoman Jean Timbes agreed.
“I think $250,000 is a lot of money for restrooms,” she said of Anderson’s trimmed-down version.
Anderson said he can trim the cost of the concession stand/bathrooms through such things as flattening an interior roof rather than have it vaulted, using a different siding, using standard size rather than special sized cinder blocks, changing a metal roof to one that’s shingled and getting rid of some stainless steel fittings in favor of ones that are not so expensive.
“We’ve got to come back to what is rational, what we can afford to do,” Councilman William Goldfinch said during a City Council workshop Monday night.
Council members suggested more changes to the plans that should bring down the costs even more.
The building, which will be in the same complex as the city’s new recreation center, was designed to blend architecturally with that facility, but Council members thought the architect went overboard.
“I think we’re all disappointed if it was overdesigned,” Mayor Alys Lawson said.
While cost is a factor, she said that care needs to be taken to make sure it blends well with the new center.
Anderson said he thinks he can get the architects to do new drawings for a trimmed-down facility free of charge.
When they are complete, the city will seek bids on that design.
And then, Councilman Irby Koon said, the Council again may go through the process of trimming the project even further so it will fit within the budget allocated for it.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.