Maximum price of public works building near $26M

Total cost of project estimated near $30M

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By DREW CARTER

All aspects of a new 150,000-square-foot public works facility on South Boulevard will cost approximately $30 million and will be funded mostly by two bond sales over the next two years, village staff told the board last week.

However, Oak Park trustees gave preliminary approval Thursday night to a guaranteed maximum price of roughly $26 million for just the construction cost of its new public works facility. That price is primarily for construction of the building, and would hold the construction management company (M.A. Mortenson Co.) liable for any additional costs beyond the maximum price.

Utility relocation and project "soft" costs add another estimated $2.5 million to the bottom line, which is $29.4 million. Another $1 million is budgeted for costs the village might be responsible for during preparation of the ground for building.

Two bond sales will fund the project, Greg Peters, director of finance, told the board. The impact would be minimal on taxpayers, Peters said, costing an estimated $18.67 over three years in property taxes for the owner of a $400,000 ($32,000 in Equalized Assessed Value) home.

After three years, other debt will be completely paid off, lowering the burden on taxpayers to pre-project levels.

The first bond sale of $12 million is expected later this month, with groundbreaking on the 15-month project to begin in December.

By locking in the guaranteed price, the village would skirt rising construction costs associated with hurricanes this fall in the Gulf Coast and higher petroleum prices. If the construction manager finishes the project under budget, it will refund the difference to the village, something Mortenson actually has done on other projects, said John Wielebnicki, director of public works.

The project plan was informed by citizen input, and will use and incorporate environmentally sustainable practices and products into its design, including an application for a Silver LEED certification (see sidebar).

Also, Mortenson has committed that at least 20 percent of its subcontracting work will be done by minority- and women-owned businesses.

Half of the two-story building will be underground to lessen its impact on the nearby residential neighborhood. The many in/out driveways will be replaced with one entrance and one exit located at a closed section of where Lombard once ran.

The building's height was designed to rise and fall slightly to avoid monotony and a canyon effect. Utility lines leading to the facility will be buried as part of the project.

All public works activities will be maintained inside the building, from salt storage to administration. Engineering offices will move from village hall to the new building upon its completion, making additional room available in village hall.

CONTACT: dcarter@wjinc.com

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