The Huether Family Aquatics Center is going to come complete with a few enhancements.
During its regular meeting Monday, the Yankton City Commission voted 8-0 in favor of passing a $468,763 change order for the project that would include a concrete parking lot and reintroduce a few amenities that had been contemplated at earlier stages.
City Manager Amy Leon said the city has been in discussion with engineers about potential small-scale enhancements since bidding on the project wrapped up.
“As you are aware, commissioners, we had really great bids come in for the Huether Family Aquatics Center,” Leon said. “Once those bids came in, we talked with our engineers about maybe some ways we could enhance the project to make it a little more attractive, maybe more valuable — things that we would have done had it been in our original budget to do so.”
At one point, estimates on the cost of the project had reached nearly $17 million, prompting the city to scale back on some items such as bathhouse size and smaller amenities. But when bids were let last year, none came in at over $11 million. The city accepted a bid from Welfl Construction for $10,386,500.
The biggest of the change-order items was to abandon plans for an asphalt parking lot in favor of a concrete parking lot, which would last longer and require less maintenance.
“We feel is a very good investment,” Leon said.
The parking lot is budgeted at $410,876.
An aesthetic option came in the form of sodding the turf area inside the fence instead of seeding it.
“That was really an idea that came from our parks department and park staff knowing that the first year — if we were seeding — while that would take less of an expense, it would take a lot longer to establish and we might end up with, depending upon the spring we have, more of a mud area than turf area,” Leon said. “The sod will just get it up and running a little bit nicer right when we open.”
Sodding is expected to cost $31,193.
Leon said the rest of the change order includes amenities for the aquatics center itself.
“Two of the other items included in this change order is the addition of a rock climbing wall and the Wibit Wiggle Bridge,” she said.
She added that these items had been considered earlier in the process.
“Now, those are two things that we had included in the original design but didn’t include in the original specifications because we didn’t think our budget allowed for it,” she said. “But because the bids came in as they did, we feel now that we can include those things.”
The climbing wall would be $17,501 while the Wibit Wiggle Bridge costs $9,193.
Leon noted that she had been approached by one resident who said that it would be unwise to move forward with the change order.
Commissioner Jake Hoffner, who has previously urged caution about going too wild with additions since the bid came in under budget, said that he supported the change order due to its inclusion of a concrete parking lot.
“I think building it better for less maintenance will pay in the long run,” Hoffner said.
However, he reiterated his earlier position Monday evening.
“I just have apprehensiveness for what we add because we had a bid,” he said. “Not to say we don’t want to build a good solid waterpark. Obviously, we had a certain responsibility that we had certain amenities that we sold to the public and they voted on. I just think we need to be careful on what items we add if that wasn’t in the package.”
Leon said she isn’t anticipating other change orders to add features and amenities moving forward.
“We haven’t gotten into construction, so I don’t want to go as far as to say as we won’t see any change orders,” she said. “I don’t think we’re going to have any more enhancements. But, should something come forward from the commission — or even from the public — that they’d like to consider, we’d certainly take a look at it.”
Commissioner Stephanie Moser was absent during Monday night’s meeting.
In other business Monday, the commission:
• Approved changes to its parking and abandoned vehicles ordinances.
• Approved two plats.
• Acknowledged the hiring of a new deputy finance officer.
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