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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Decision Day Monday for AWAYSIS

Monday, April 24, 2006

Waterpark cost down

Monday will be a pivotal day for the AWAYSIS lodge hotel plan, and Tuesday could be day one of construction on the AWAYSIS water park.

A special Storm Lake City Council meeting will be held Monday to take action on the two issues.

Both projects were slightly delayed when bids came in much higher than the consulting architect's budget estimates.

City officials are still working on options for the the lodge project, and hope to have a plan in place Monday. The basic choice will be whether to accept the bid of one of the two contractors, both about $3.5 million over the estimate, and then begin to try to make adjustments to cut the costs; or to reject both bids, reconsider the lodge design, and rebid the lodge project.

"Both options come with some risk, and both come with some advantages," said project director Mike Wilson on Friday. "The decision that will have to be made is - are we going ahead, and how."

There are some ideas floating around on how to reduce lodge building costs, but they cannot be addressed until after the city approves a contract with a contractor, Wilson said.

Monday is also deadline day for the council to decide on whether it will accept a contract with low-bidder Christiansen Construction to build the waterpark. The date to decide on a contract was pushed back to allow for some cost-cutting efforts and to determine what would be done with the lodge plan.

The waterpark bid came in at $6.735 million. With concessions and adjustments from the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers, the cost has been trimmed by $263,000. While it remains over estimate, Wilson said that in his opinion the project is do-able at the current price.

If the city council approves the contract on Monday, construction work on the waterpark could begin as early as Tuesday, and the park would be slated for completion by June, 2007.

"None of the changes being made will affect the guest experience at the waterpark. We are not cutting out slides or any of the features," Wilson said.

Likewise, the city continues to stress that the lodge must maintain its unique elements in order to be a successful tourist attraction.

Meanwhile, good weather has pushed site work along at a rapid pace, and workers are now on schedule to complete the geo-pier underpinnings of the lodge and waterpark area possibly on Monday. As soon as their equipment is out, Lundell Construction will move in and begin work on the golf course parking areas and the south end of the new Sunrise Road roadbed.

The new road is scheduled to be completed by mid-July, but Wilson says he hopes it can be reopened earlier than that.

With all the frantic efforts to get the lodge and waterpark underway, there has been no time to address the proposed new Senior Center site, which was displaced from earlier plans that first put it near the campground in the AWAYSIS development, and later in the current site of the old water plant building in Sunset Park.

"Nothing has been done yet," Wilson said on the new senior center, "but it will happen."

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