Rising steel prices: more cash needed for investment projects | New
Due to rising steel prices, two quality of life projects will require hundreds of thousands of additional dollars, city officials say.
Chief Financial Officer Anthony Francisco told the city council-led finance committee on Thursday that the Senior Wellness Center and Young Family Athletics Center would need a combined “$ 800,000 net” and recommended spending from the general fund. .
Both projects are ongoing and funded primarily by the Norman Forward Sales Tax Fund, a Â¼ cent sales tax approved by voters.
The athletics center will host indoor competition grounds for swimming, basketball and volleyball.
The wellness center will offer event space, fitness areas, indoor swimming pool, craft room and other amenities for people 50 and over.
Both projects are in the process of being tendered, Francisco noted, and got a higher maximum bid than staff expected due to structural steel prices.
âFrom a general fund perspective, where we’re above all of our projections for this fiscal year, it’s affordable,â he said. âWe want to move these projects forward. We don’t want to cut, for example, the gym part of the senior wellness center and these are things we will have to do to get back under budget. “
City manager Darrel Pyle agrees but worries about even higher costs due to the infrastructure bill recently approved by Congress.
âWhere we see costs in most of the deals that have been launched, in most of them we’re right on budget, but the overall steel has been high,â he said. . âWe hope that with the infrastructure bill we anticipate that the prices and delays will go nowhere but north of here. Our ability to roll and lock them is going to save us a lot of money in the long run. “
The council previously approved cuts to both projects, most recently minor savings measures in alternative building materials for the wellness center to bring it back within the $ 12.4 million budget. The sports center suffered cuts after voters refused to adopt a package of general obligations in August 2020 to keep the Norman Forward plans as they were designed at the time.
The budget of the sports center is 39 million dollars and the space wasted for the ball fields and the reduction in the size of the indoor swimming pool.
The Wall Street Journal reported on September 15 that rising steel prices are forcing manufacturers to scramble to meet demand. Fortune magazine reported in July that steel prices had jumped 200%.
Ward 4 Lee Hall asked if alternative building materials could be considered for the sports center again, but Parks and Recreation Director Jason Olsen said the steel in question is structural and cannot To be replaced.
Meanwhile, the city continues to juggle another surprise cost during the renovation of an old library being turned into a new development center. Contractors found asbestos in a second cap that was added in the 1980s, City Clerk Brenda Hall told council at a study session.
The remediation will likely be completed in February 2022, Hall told the committee. The cost has been estimated at $ 950,000 which the council has agreed to allocate from several construction fund accounts.
Mindy Wood covers Town Hall news and notable court cases for The Transcript. Contact her at [email protected] or 405-416-4420.