The project faces many delays and huge cost overruns since ground was broken on Feb. 24 to add two pools and upgraded amenities

BARBARA SHERMAN - The new KCCA Aquatic Center is starting to take shape, but the project has been plagued with unexpected problems, added requirements, cost overruns and a shortage of licensed contractors.There was good news and bad news at the Aug. 12 meeting of the King City Civic Association Board of Directors regarding the future Aquatic Center.

Sandi Fuhrman, who is on the KCCA Ad Hoc Pool Construction Committee, reported that after many delays, a lot of the infrastructure has been completed and the building exterior is now under construction.

However, the bad news is that the project was expected to cost $1.13 million and is now nearly $406,000 over budget, which does not include parking lot lights, striping, sealer and signs, plus a bike rack, landscaping and painting the Crown Center.

The KCCA took out a $1 million bank loan and expected to kick in $200,000 from its reserves, but now the total cost of the facility has risen to $1,536,000.

The Crown Center in southeast King City includes a large meeting room, kitchen, restrooms and a workout room, and many years ago an adjacent outdoor pool was enclosed with access to the Crown Center.

But the pool-enclosure project was not done correctly, and over the years mold and mildew developed in the pool area and dressing rooms, plus the HVAC system was inefficient and the pool was expensive to operate.

On Feb. 24 members of the KCCA Board of Directors broke ground on the Aquatic Center that includes a 6,300-square-foot building housing the original pool plus a two-lane lap pool, a 12-foot-round spa and new dressing rooms and restrooms. In addition, the existing pool is being resurfaced, and new plumbing and electrical systems, pumps and an ultraviolet filter system are being installed.

But delays in getting permits, running into unforeseen problems, upgrading the original plans for injury prevention and safety precautions, and finding licensed contractors all proved to throw a huge monkey-wrench into the timeline and budget, according to Fuhrman.

"Each decision (to make changes) costs money," she said. "The 2016 bids were based on what we knew, not what we didn't know. The plans had to be changed due to the required separation of the (pool and Crown Center) buildings. And there were soil compaction issues once we removed the original building. We took nine soil samples, and there nine different compactions."

This led to a bill for $54,974 bill to deal with the undocumented fill dirt.

According to Fuhrman, Multnomah County had a 10 percent increase in building permits in 2016 over 2015.

"We got our permits issued, but in the past six to nine months, there have been labor shortages, and price and demand continue to grow," she said, adding that pool committee members toured other pool facilities to get ideas and learn how other pool construction has been done.

For example, they learned that concrete makes a better deck and is less slippery and expensive than tile, which was originally planned to be used.

But electrical issues led to higher bills, Fuhrman said. "Lack of proper lighting is a major cause of accidents, and because the lights are in a corrosive environment, we went with all LED lights with a 15-year-guarantee," she added. "The increase in lighting costs is $74,000."

Down the line, each component cost more than originally budgeted: Sewer repairs and electricity to the new building cost $41,664 more; the HVAC system cost $11,490 more; additional plumbing work cost $59,628; and Crown Center modifications and repairs cost $79,775 more.

The hallway between the Crown Center and new Aquatic Center had to be changed from 4 feet wide to 5 feet wide, which meant modifying a second pool corner that cost $6,300. The coping and tile around the pool had to be replaced at a cost of $7,900, and required new drains cost $15,000.

"There were several significant cost overruns," Fuhrman said. These included asbestos inspection and abatement at $9,251 and changes due to city requirements that cost $18,507.

She urged the residents to visit the KCCA website for updates and photos and added, "This facility belongs to all of us to enjoy. There is enough money in the reserves to pay for all the extra expenses or we can increase our loan, but let's wait until October to see."

Board member Paul Downing, who has an extensive background as a contractor, questioned Fuhrman as to whether the committee was getting three bids for the various projects and told her the board should decide on awarding contracts for any amount over the $1.2 million original budget.

"We haven't spent that much yet," Fuhrman replied, adding, "The board meets once a month. How is this supposed to work? This committee has followed the rules outlined to us, and those contracts have been signed."

Fuhrman's presentation ended with a big round of applause from the audience.