By Casey Tolliver
The construction plans for what was to be the largest building on campus have been sent back to the drawing board.The minimum bids for the new Science building were considerably higher than the budget would allow, construction of the building has been postponed.
According to the EKU Executive Director of Capital Planning and Facilities Management James Street, the lowest bid received from a contractor to build the new building was more than $14 million more than the $46 million earmarked in the University’s budget for the project.
“The bids came in substantially over funding,” Street said. “And there is no way to instantly come up with the extra $15 million.”
The budget-busting bids have forced Street to reconvene with the design team and figure out what the next move should be.
According to Street, there are five options available that will help the price of the bids to decrease enough to fit under the umbrella of the budget.
Some of the options include shortening the overall height of the building by deleting floors, as well as different types of exterior, interior and engineering reductions.
“We are going to determine which option is the best to reduce the amount of the bid and will serve the best interest of the students,” Street said.
Street added that the committee hopes to have the project out to bid once again before the end of the year.
Street feels that the new Science building will be the most important buildings that the University has added to the campus in the past few years.
“Every student will be able to study science and with modern technology. It’s going to reinvigorate our science programs,” Street said.
As bid documents for the construction of the BTC lay, they are 99 percent complete, and were recently sent to a third party estimating firm. An estimated price tag of $35 million, which is $8 million over budget, Street said.
“Obviously, a significant review and reduction in project scope was required, and the BTC Steering Committee met and elected to remove the conferencing and dining element of the project so the addition to the current classroom building and performing arts functions could remain intact,” Street said. “We expect final drawings for review today.”
The Science building will be located north of EKU’s health sciences complex, just off of Kit Carson Drive, and in addition to classrooms, laboratories and faculty offices, the site will also feature an atrium, an aquatic pond, wetland, greenhouse, forest and outdoor classroom, among other features designed to draw attention to the environment and serve as teaching tools, according to the EKU website.