After approving Dick and Fritsche Design Group in early 2016 to provide design and architectural drawings for the proposed Heroes Branch Library, council heard an update on the rising costs of the project during the Oct. 2 council workshop.

“The original construction cost estimate was $2.3 million, plus an additional contingency amount of $311,000,” said Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing. “Heroes Park is in the design stage and the estimated costs were provided through staff working with the architect.”

Based on staff discussions and consultation with Dick and Fritsche Design Group, Inc., the estimated costs of the project have increased and the revised project estimate is based on the design of the library, required infrastructure, and technology needs of the facility.

It was originally expected to begin as a 7,500- to 8,000-square-foot, prefabricated modular building on the grounds of Heroes Regional Park off 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road, said Community Services Director Eric Strunk at the April 4, 2016 council workshop. Duensing said staff is working to keep costs down and continues to review the project daily.

“However, this was an estimate based on a modular design, and staff was doing everything possible to save the limited funding for the initial estimate,” said Duensing. “In May 2017, our budget and finance department did a very thorough examination of available Development Impact Fees, and we determined there was approximately $600,000 in additional impact fees available, which must be spent by January 2020.”

Duensing added that the original costs were early numbers and were expected to rise and reports they are going up nearly a million dollars.

“The estimated costs of construction are $3.1 million, plus an additional project contingency amount of $300,000,” he said.

He added that some of the costs, including $117,000 from library grants and some of the increases are from “additional parks impact fees for projects west of 75th Avenue due to greater than anticipated revenue for the prior fiscal year.”

Duensing added that staff is now confident they can get away from a modular based to a brick and mortar building.

“Based on these additional resources, we feel we now have the ability to go from a modular design to conventional construction, which is better for building quality and expansion in the future. We are also able to fund the necessary technology from impact fees and absorb some anticipated material and labor cost increases if needed,” he said.

“This project was always about affordability,” Duensing said. “Staff worked very hard to ensure we had the funding sources and the financing to construct a quality library within our available resources. As we feel we have put together a solid funding plan to deliver a quality library, we would like to proceed with the construction contracting phase of the project.”

Staff is requesting council direction on the updated financial plan for the facility which identifies Development Impact Fees as the primary source of funding and construction is expected to begin in 2018.