As the new learning centre takes shape on 50 Street, the question of who completes the tenant improvements came up for decision.
Town council opted for Eagle Builders, the second highest bid of the four that qualified, on March 13 during the regular meeting.
The building is set to house Ponoka’s town hall, Ponoka Jubilee Library and Campus Alberta Central’s learning centre.
The compliant bids came from four companies: Keller Construction at $1.5 million, Shunda Consulting and Construction Management at $1.61 million, Emcee Construction and Management at $1.85 million and Eagle Builders at $1.72 million.
The building and the town’s space is set to last Ponoka for some years.
“There’s good growth capacity within the building,” said CAO Albert Flootman, pointing out the space is good enough for 12,000 to 15,000 residents.
“We are planning to use as much existing furniture as possible,” he added about moving existing furniture.
Flootman pointed out it was Eagle Builders that designed the detailed floor plan and one of the caveats, a verbal agreement with the company, with not going with Eagle would be to add another $10,000 to the cost.
He added that $10,000 is a relatively good price for the design work.
Another benefit of working with Eagle Builders, despite the extra cost, is the company could do the tenant improvements concurrently with the building construction to allow for a faster turn over.
“This would provide the highest level of accountability,” said Flootman with regard to the installation of all the systems and having Eagle do the work.
On top of the tenant improvements, there is also the installation of a variety of needs such as furnishings ($100,000), mechanical units ($159,000) plus engineering costs and floor polishing. These additional costs bring the amounts to $2.1 million for Eagle Builders and $1.9 million for Keller.
It’s about $125,000 more than what was originally budgeted.
For council there was a concern over not using Eagle Builders and if that would end up taking longer.
Coun. Kevin Ferguson asked if there’s a way to know Keller’s reliability compared to Eagle Builders. “I don’t mind spending a little more money because what I see is what I get,” said Ferguson.
Flootman replied that both the project manager and designer the town hired have worked with Keller Construction before and they were pleased with the results.
Mayor Rick Bonnett feels Eagle would have less issues based on the fact it specializes in precast concrete buildings as well the company is the main contractor of the building. He asked how many precast buildings that Keller has dealt with. Flootman replied that the town doesn’t have that information.
Coun. Teri Underhill asked if there’s any penalty clause put into the agreement if moving in is delayed. She was concerned that if the improvements take too long, the town would still have to pay rent even if it wasn’t ready.
“We begin paying operating costs as soon as notice is served,” said Sandra Lund, director of corporate services.
Flootman replied that there is no penalty clause, however, that could still be negotiated.
For Bonnett, using Eagle Builders is an easy decision. “They’re close. They will maintain their building. They will not want their name sullied.”
Coun. Ted Dillon added that Eagle Builders confirmed its price is firm.
Tenant improvements are more than budgeted
It will cost an additional $125,000 to go with Eagle Builders. The town’s draft 2018 budget identifies $2.04 million for improvements.
“Where does the $125,000 come from?” asked Coun. Sandra Lyon.
Despite that concern, Coun. Carla Prediger spoke in favour of using Eagle Builders.
“We’ve ran into these situations where we get RFDs (requests for decision) and we have poor results,” said Prediger.
She spoke in favour of using a local company with an already proven track record with the town.
Council made the suggestion the extra money could be reallocated from grant funds where other projects were put on hold. A final approval on the 2018 budget is expected at the March 27 meeting.
Ponoka News editor Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye is the chairperson of the Ponoka Jubilee Library