During a regularly scheduled work session Thursday night, borough assembly members learned that another $100,000 will be needed to complete a parking lot under construction as part of the Kodiak High School expansion and renovation project.
That extra amount comes on top of $192,000 already spent beyond the project’s initial $857,000 bid. The parking lot will now cost more than $1.1 million.
“This really alarms me because this is just a stinking parking lot,” Assemblywoman Louise Stutes said.
With the borough about to begin construction on the $76 million Kodiak High School expansion, Stutes and other assembly members said the borough cannot afford cost overruns.
“If this kind of thing happens on the high school, we’re going to end up sinking over $100 million into it,” Assemblyman Tuck Bonney said.
The changes to the parking lot project are needed because digging revealed that utilities beneath the parking lot — laid during the 1960s — were put far shallower than expected. That means the parking lot cannot be built as designed without additional work.
“There was no way to tell without going out there with a backhoe and digging up those utilities to say oh, they’re too high,” borough engineering and facilities manager Woody Koning told the assembly.
Koning said that in discussions with the architectural review board, the borough learned that mapping the underground utilities would have cost more than any changes to the project.
“We’re not sitting back, letting contractors run willy nilly,” Koning said. “Our job is to protect the taxpayers, and we take it very seriously.”
While reassured, the assembly asked acting borough manager Bud Cassidy to draft a policy that will keep the assembly in the loop on future change orders above $50,000.
Under borough code, the assembly’s presiding officer and one other member of the assembly must approve any contract change costing more than $10,000, but Cassidy said a new policy will give the whole assembly — not just the two asked to sign — more information.
“They want to have a little more scrutiny,” he said.