Set to go to tenders soon, costs to upgrade Stettler Recreation Centre has jumped to almost $1.8 million for construction.
At its regular meeting last Tuesday, Town of Stettler council finalized major renovations at $1.79 million for the first phase.
“The bulk of the overall increase in the budget from $1.5 million at the conceptual design stage to $1.79 million now is due primarily to increased and frankly unanticipated structural costs related to the front addition,” architect John Hall said in a report to council.
“I am very confident this is a valid working budget,” he told councillors who asked various questions.
Despite that increase, the town remains committed to the project, which could be pared down to maintain the budget.
“Until we get the tenders, we won’t know the actual costs,” Mayor Dick Richards said.
“If costs go much higher, we can revise the project. We will have to offset costs in efficiencies.”
One councillor added that the prices won’t be so economical as the project progresses.
“Costs will only get higher,” Coun. Steve Wildeboer said.
When he asked where an additional $300,000 in funding could be retrieved, administration assured council that the town has several resources to dip into.
“We have funds available, such as reserves and debentures,” said the town’s chief administrative officer, Rob Stoutenberg.
For the project, Hull has proposed costs for:
— New entrance addition and foyer with both levels for $635,788.
— Library renovations for $643,628.
— Seniors’ social centre for $519,863.
“We believe the estimate still reflects very good value for the town and the future of the recreation centre,” Hull said.
He added that the budget increase also reflects minor changes, with steps to upgrade lighting to energy-efficient, open and raise the library ceiling, add two new air-handling units to provide better air control to the library and the seniors’ centre.
The fully independent structural design for the addition also requires more demolition than was anticipated at the conceptual design stage.
When the plans are presented for tenders, Hull agreed that certain components of the project be separately priced to help council make possible cuts when tenders are reviewed in August.
During discussion and questions from council, Hull explained that a raised ceiling “provides for better acoustics and adds interest to the building.”
An electric fireplace for the library has also been planned with funding from Friends of the Library, Coun. Darcy Bachman said.
“They realize they will be a big benefactor of the project and want to do as much as they can to help,” Stoutenberg said.
Similar to the project to build Stettler Sports Park, the upgrade to the SRC will also invite opportunities for special donations of funding and furnishings from service organizations and citizens.