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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 1 year ago

Ocoee approves project budget, amendment for new city hall

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The amendment covers the guaranteed maximum price for City Hall at $17,255,537.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

The Ocoee City Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 20, unanimously approved the project budget and an amendment to the design-build agreement with Wharton-Smith for the construction of the new city hall.

City Utilities Director Jamie Croteau reminded the commission about the meeting held Oct. 15, 2019, where the exterior concept design for the new city hall — which will measure 46,552 square feet and stand three stories tall — was approved by the commission, while the interior-design decisions were to be made by City Manager Robert Frank.

The next step, Croteau said, was the approval of the project budget and Exhibit A amendment. The commission also had to authorize the city to approve the design-builder contingency and allow the city manager to authorize contracts up to the amount of the project budget.

“Exhibit A covers the guaranteed maximum price for the project, and you’ll see that the guaranteed maximum price being presented is $17,255,537,” Croteau said. “This figure is slightly different that what you saw in April — it’s about 1 or 2% higher, so $300,000 — so a little higher than we anticipated but still well within the range. 

“It includes a 5% fee for Wharton-Smith, and it also includes a design-builder contingency, and the reason that I’m pointing this out is because it’s $478,656 — this can be used by Wharton-Smith for subcontractor defaults, scope gaps, (and) cost overruns not covered by allowances, but it cannot be used for any corrections to defective work,” she said. “Use of this contingency does require verification and approval by the city.”

She also noted the contingency resides in the guaranteed maximum price but that by the end of the project, the contract requires any savings Wharton-Smith gets as it goes through subcontractor buyouts to go back into the GMP, or design-builder contingency — 75% of which will come back to the city, while 25% goes back to Wharton-Smith.

Overall, the new city hall will cost a total of $21,993,942 and includes four different costs: Construction ($17,255,537), furniture/fixtures/equipment ($2.6 million), miscellaneous ($603,944) and project contingency ($1,534,461).

The project should be complete by March 2022, with move-in to be completed the following month.

After a few questions from the commissioners, Mayor Rusty Johnson circled back to the construction timeline, asking about when the actual work will begin.

“They will start mobilizing to the site as soon as we do the groundbreaking,” Croteau said. “They have civil work to do on the site. You will see foundations going in in February, and you’ll actually see steel being erected — if they keep to their schedule — in April.”

Johnson also noted the three-month delay between the groundbreaking scheduled for November and the foundation work beginning in February. An official representing the developer said there will be site work done in those months to prepare for foundations.

“I’m tickled to death to get it started, but it has been a long time coming,” Johnson said. “It seems to me like that’s a long time — that’s not that big of a property to do site work. This thing has been going on for a long time, so any way we can up it, we need to up it. 

“This thing has been dragging for a while, so we need to speed it up — not make mistakes on the building, but we need to see if we can get busy the day we put that shovel in the ground,” he said. “That’s something we need to get going a little quicker.”

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Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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