85 percent looks fine


The Mirror

Architects working on the community center planned for Celebration Park presented an updated version last week with swatches of the carpets, linoleum, tile, wood and stone that will adorn the building.

Keith Hayes, a principal at architectural firm Barker, Rinker, Seacat, provided the City Council with diagrams of the base facility and the grounds around it, with alternative bids included to show how the facility would look if the city can afford to add them.

He told the council the project –– once about $6 million over budget –– is on time and on budget. In fact, the architects and construction managers from Vanir Construction Management reported they have found about $500,000 in project savings that could be applied to the alternatives, depending on how the bids come in.

Under the most recent design, the community wing of the center would accommodate between 200 and 240 people in two adjoining rooms, depending on whether they're seated at tables or in rows of chairs. That number could grow to 360 if the city adds a third multi-purpose room, currently designed as an alternative.

There's also a terraced amphitheater space adjacent to the community rooms outside, where another 300 people could gather for outdoor concerts or receptions.

That space is critical to council members, who want a large enough facility to host public gatherings and conventions that might go to Tacoma or Seattle for lack of room here.

The first community room, located next to the kitchen, would be carpeted; the next room, a multi-purpose space with a temporary divider that could be folded and pushed aside, would have a wood floor that could accommodate dancing or an aerobics class.

The 3,800-square-foot leisure pool planned for the center is still expected to be a main attraction, with its water slide and vortex, and the six-lane lap pool nearby would accommodate high school swim meets, according to officials.

The base plans presented last week include two gym bays. But if the city can afford a third, a solid wall would be eliminated and a curtain suspended from the ceiling to serve as a portable partition to separate the third bay for other events or to keep younger children separated from the colorful language of competitors in adult sports.

The size of the raised track for walking and jogging, another bid alternative, will depend on the size of the gym, officials said.

Project planners said they decided on durable wood paneling for the majority of the interior of the building because it's easy to replace and adds warmth to the space.

Councilman Eric Faison said he was pleased with what he saw.

"There was a concern that it'd be busy and, for lack of a better word, not very classy," he said. "It (design) looks very nice."

As currently designed, the community center is a little more than 60,000 square feet –– about 53,300 on the first floor and about 6,900 on the top floor. A 233-stall parking lot would be surrounded on two sides by a tree-lined road that leads to a traffic circle at South 333rd Street.

A hearing examiner in January approved the center's intrusion into a nearby wetland buffer zone. In exchange, the city identified twice as much area adjacent to the buffer area to be preserved in perpetuity, with signs and fencing to keep people and pets out.

Architects and construction managers presented an updated budget for the project that showed a $500,000 savings that could be used toward the bid alternatives. The construction budget is set at $15.8 million, with about $3.2 million in estimated "soft" costs and about $1.1 million in contingency funds to cover potential surprises. The total project budget is set at $20.6 million.

Among the four project alternatives, the third gym bay was estimated to cost $508,000, the third multi-purpose room $260,000, the track $287,000 and the climbing wall enclosure $160,000, for a total of $1.2 million for all four. With the $500,000 in project savings, that leaves about $700,000 remaining to be funded.

Last year, earlier designs had the project running approximately $6 million over budget, partly because of errors in figuring expenses.

Council members were made aware last week of the costs they could expect down the road, but didn't discuss any potential ways to cover them or which alternatives to seek if money for all of them isn't available.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565,

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