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October 24, 2014

TC3 faces unexpected construction costs

By SARAH VABER
Staff Reporter
sbullock@cortlandstandardnews.net

DRYDEN — The Tompkins Cortland Community College board approved during its Thursday night meeting the use of $184,000 in reserve funds to cover unexpected construction costs that arose during the $7 million renovation of the campus building.
The Board of Trustees voted 8-0 to remove the funds, with two trusteesabsent.
The funds will be taken from an account that had been set up to cover unexpected costs so it will not increase the overall cost of the project, Jim Turner, director of facilities, said at themeeting.
After the $184,060 is removed from the reserve account, there will still be about $165,000 left, Turner told the board.
Renovations to the campus include a new front entrance, moving the enrollment services area to a space near the building’s main door, new traditional classrooms and a high-tech classroom, as well as an updated and relocated large meeting room and board room.
The unexpected expenses stemmed from a surprise finding of a wall lacking vertical supports and also a last-minute discovery of a water line under the front of the academic building that the contractor had not accounted for in drawings provided for the project. In addition, drainage had to be added when soil under parking lots gave way due to the weight of construction equipment.
Drawings of where water pipes were laid when the academic building was first erected were inaccurate and construction workers were surprised to find a major waterline underneath the front of the building, Turner said. Removing and replacing the pipe, which was made of asbestos cement, added an additional $95,000 to construction costs alone, he said.
Contractors also found that an existing wall of the building did not have the vertical supports it was supposed to have, he said. Soil underneath campus parking lots gave way under the weight of construction equipment as if the dirt was “quicksand” and drainage had to be added.
Construction on campus is about one-third of the way through the project, Turner said.
Turner said he was confident the overall project would not totally expend the funds remaining in the reserve account. Most of the rest of the work is inside the building, which the college has previously updated and has more accurate construction plans for, he said.
Even if costs do exceed the reserve fund, there is still a budget line of $275,000 for furniture and fixtures that could be trimmed if necessary, Turner said.
The construction surprises have put the project over a month behind schedule. The project is now scheduled to be completed by Dec. 15.

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