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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Community Swimming Pool 2x Over Budget, Behind Schedule

School District Bungles Emeryville's Community Pool

Four Months Late
$700,000 Initial Price Balloons to Almost $2 Million

Emeryville's community swimming pool, a joint use facility located at the Center of 'Community' Life (ECCL) construction site and used by the Emery School District and the entire Emeryville community, is now projected to cost more than double original claims and will be finished well past its original time line schedule according to a representative for the City and School District.  John Baker of Swinerton Construction, the District's and the City's  paid representative overseer of Turner Construction, the ECCL general contractor, told Emeryville's elected officials at a City/Schools joint meeting Thursday night the pool will likely cost nearly $2 million, some $1.3 million more than budgeted, and will not be completed until November, more than four months late.

Mr Baker said the cost overruns can be attributed to Turner Construction not anticipating the need for a more 'robust' filtration system and other obsolete equipment in the existing pool mechanical room.

Remodeling and upgrading the community pool has been part of the ECCL construction project since its inception several years ago, but a shocked City Council and School Board learned Thursday this critical part of the project is not in the construction bid and was instead simply given a cost estimate and folded into the budget.  The ECCL construction bid is subject to hard fast numbers called a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) but the community pool was not included in that metric Mr Baker said.
The project has a set aside contingency fund to handle cost overruns and change orders but the overage at the community pool will virtually wipe out the fund, it was announced.  Presumably, further cost overruns will be covered by the taxpayers as extra costs for the project.

Upon hearing the part of the Center of 'Community' Life that's not protected by a bid guarantee will be more than double what was advertised, several elected officials at the meeting expressed dismay and incredulity, "how convenient" Councilwoman Jac Asher said.   School Board member Christian Patz vowed to get money back, regardless of the bad news, "I Googled 'olympic sized pool cost' and found it should cost around a million dollars, for a new pool" he told the Swinerton representative.

No Community in a Community Pool?
Perhaps the most shocking revelation of the evening was the explanation offered as to why the cost has more than doubled for the pool; Turner Construction, the general contractor and builder of the ECCL from the beginning, did not anticipate the community would use the community pool at the Center of Community Life.  Mr Baker indicated Turner thought the pool was for the School District's exclusive use, not the community's and that's the reason for a much more robust filtration system than had been planned when the costs were first calculated.
Further, apparently nobody at Turner ever bothered to check the existing pool room to confirm the state of the equipment there before the pool cost estimate was prepared.  That outmoded equipment will have to be upgraded for the hard use of a community pool Mr Baker said.  These two reasons were offered to the City Council and School Board as the primary reasons for the more than 100% cost overrun for the pool remodel, double the cost of a new similarly sized pool if Board member Patz is correct.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. This commenter was using profanity that I have a problem letting through on stories that feature the School District. Please don't use F bomb comments on school stories people.
      For the record, this commenter wasn't happy with the news about the pool and predicted more cost overruns.

    2. I predicted cost overruns years ago and not surprised by this discovery. wasn't there a time very recently when the city/school committee cancelled meetings due to lack of agenda items to discuss?
      the project has gone through three project directors in three years. roy miller was in over his head, overpaid and knew it.

    3. to anonymous june 7 2:35 p.m. please clean up your comment so that the rest of us can read it.

  2. The district cannot say they were not told that this project would cost much more than they were saying. Anyone who has been involved in construction projects knows that cost over-runs are as sure as water being wet. Who in there right mind would set aside $1,000,000 for change orders? The project is just beginning and would not surprise me if it goes 10% beyond the proposal. Our Board/previous Board bit hard taking Tony Smith's bait hook, line and sinker.

  3. Anyone read the June 10th board packet....already a slew of change orders.

  4. having worked 10 years for an architect/developer, every construction project has many, many change orders. they didn't just start with the june 10 meeting. this is why it is/was imperative for the measure j oversight committee to attend not only school board meetings but the city/school meetings as well. my thanks to brian donahue for attending all the meetings and keeping us informed.

    does anyone know when the next oversight committee will be held? they haven't met since march.