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District dismayed by bids for pool

"The project team responsible for the new pool is recommending a new start, after all four bidders for the construction contract belly-flopped the first time out.For reasons that are not yet clear to park district officials, all four bids came in roughly $1 million over the project's budget and higher than estimates. Our estimator is standing behind his work, park district Director Dave Lewis said. The project management team will recommend that the directors reject all four bids, that we revamp the bid specifications and send it out to bid again.The four bids opened last week ranged from a low of $5.169 million to a high of $5.686 million. Those sums were for construction only, and did not include furnishings, architectural fees or permits, which Lewis said will add another $1 million to the overall cost.We needed the bids to be a million dollars lower to be within our budget, Lewis said.The discrepancies between the estimates and the bids came in three areas, Lewis said, the biggest of which was the mechanical portion for plumbing, electrical and other systems.The bids for mechanical came in almost double what we had expected - $687,000 higher, Lewis said.Lewis said he hopes that the problem was a failure of communication between the district and potential contractors. Bidders on the project included Del-Jen Inc., of Silverdale; Drury Construction of Poulsbo; Anthony Construction of Seattle; and Primo Construction of Sequim.Looking back, our bid documents were not as complete or clear (about project specifications) as they might have been, he said. We think the bids may have been the result of misunderstandings or miscalculations.The other areas of discrepancy were furnishings, for which the most favorable bid was $235,000 over the estimates, and masonry, where the discrepancy was $176,000.Lewis stressed that the project itself is not in jeopardy.We may be talking about alterations like concrete instead of tile in the bathrooms, he said.Bainbridge voters last year approved a $4.5 million bond issue to finance most of the new pool, which will be built immediately north of the existing Ray Williamson Pool. The remainder of the roughly $5.5 million budget will come from private fund-raising, which will be getting under way in the next couple of weeks.Meanwhile, a major component of private fund-raising - the sale of naming rights - produced a pleasant surprise in the form of two separate offers of $100,000. And Lewis said it may be possible to accept both offers.As matters now stand, the park district board of commissioners has determined that the entire complex will be called the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Complex. What had originally been offered was the opportunity to name the new pool. And the Bainbridge Rotary Club has offered $100,000 to do just that.But the Sam Christensen family, active island swimmers, has offered the same amount to name the entire complex. They don't want it named for them, either.Their proposal is to select five possible names, then put the matter to a public vote, Lewis said. The catch is that it will cost a dollar to vote, and you can vote as often as you want. So this will be another aspect of fund raising.Lewis said that the Christensen plan would require a little fine tuning, but that the district is interested.We don't want to let a $100,000 donation slip away, he said. We're definitely interested in coming up with a way to satisfy both Rotary and the Christensens. The park district board will take up the matter at their meeting next Thursday.Lewis said that because of the time required for permitting, the re-bid will not delay the overall project. Construction is expected to begin this summer. "

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