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City wants its money back: Kingsport hoping to recover extra funds spent on D-B stadium renovation

July 15th, 2014 6:51 am by Matthew Lane

City wants its money back: Kingsport hoping to recover extra funds spent on D-B stadium renovation

Photo by David Grace.

KINGSPORT — The city of Kingsport intends to pursue every possible avenue to recoup the extra money spent on the J. Fred Johnson Stadium project in light of the revelation that not all cost saving measures were included in the final plans.

This was the message that came out of a Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session Monday afternoon following a status update on the stadium project.

The $4.59 million renovation and expansion project calls for the addition of 1,000 seats to the 70-year-old grandstand, a new two-story press box, new restrooms and areas for concessions, improved handicapped accessibility, wider aisles with handrails, an elevator and covered concourses.

Work began last fall and the contract calls for the project to be completed by Oct. 31. Goins Rash Cain Inc. — the company performing the work — has assured Kingsport officials that the work will be substantially complete by Aug. 22 and the stadium open for business before the start of the fall football season.

The project hit a snag last month when Pat Breeding with GRC informed the BMA of an issue regarding the generator for the elevator and how its specifications in the plans were not adequate to operate the elevator.

Ryan McReynolds, assistant city manager for operations, said the plans call for a 15 horsepower generator, but in reality a 50 horsepower generator was required for the elevator.

Two weeks ago the BMA approved $58,300 in additional funding for the purchase of a new generat o r.

GRC also had to perform $22,800 in electrical upgrades for the stronger generator.

In addition to the generator, Breeding said last month there were other changes to the project due to the construction drawings not incorporating all of the cost-saving measures approved during the design phase.

According to city documents, certain structural steel supports were added to the scope of the project after the contract documents were finalized. These steel supports cost GRC approximately $28,800. In addition, the original design showed a public water line as private yard piping. To use this waterline, GRC had to make nearly $7,800 in adjustments, including installing a new 8" meter.

The total amount of change orders related to the project now stands at $117,790 — or 2.6 percent of the total project. McReynolds said the city feels comfortable no more change orders would take place.

The BMA is expected to approve the increase during its regular meeting tonight.

Why this is important is because GRC agreed to a maximum price for the project — $4.59 million — which leaves the Kingsport-based company little room for error in case something unexpected comes up.

A typical city project usually has a 6 percent contingency built in. Because of the guaranteed price, McReynolds said the stadium project has no conting e n c y.

However, that wouldn't be an issue if the design plans matched what the construction companies bid on, as GRC has asserted.

McReynolds told the BMA that he has met with City Attorney Mike Billingsley and that the city would be pursuing a monetary remedy with the design company.

Kingsport paid CHA Sports (a New York-based sports facility design company) $250,000 for the schematic design, design development and preparation of construction drawings for the stadium project.

Prior to bidding out the work, CHA Sports and city officials went through a "value engineering" phase to help reduce the overall cost of the project and get the budget within an amount acceptable to the BMA.

Mayor Dennis Phillips said he hopes Kingsport does not have to sue CHA Sports, but that it should be prepared to do so.

"We have to ensure people know GRC is the messenger. They could have stopped the process and waited on us or continue to get the stadium open. It's grossly unfair to throw them under the bus. We do have issues. We paid someone $250,000 to design this and it didn't work. This is a situation of what was drawn would not work."

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