rethink vote on
Members want to be sureBy Gordon Y.K. Pang
the city gets what it wants
in the restoration
City Council Chairman Mufi Hannemann may ask colleagues to reconsider approving the restoration of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium if he doesn't get answers on the cost.
"I want to be sure that what we voted for, that the $11 million we thought would bring about a full restoration, is what we're getting," Hannemann said. "If we're not, then they need to explain to us what we're doing here because I don't want to be sold a bill of goods."
Representatives from Healy Tibbits Builders and city officials have been asked to appear at a Budget Committee meeting next Friday to explain.
Councilwoman Donna Mercado Kim and other critics of the restoration last week accused Mayor Jeremy Harris of understating costs.
The Council last summer budgeted $11 million for construction. Healy Tibbits, the winning bidder last month, offered a "basic bid" of $10.8 million.
That amount, however, does not include 15 "alternate" improvements that originally were represented as part of the project, Kim said.
Completing all alternatives, according to the Healy Tibbits bid, would cost $18.4 million.
Hawaii Dredging and Construction, the only other bidder, offered a basic bid of $14 million and $18.8 million with all the alternatives.
Administration officials said they are negotiating with Healy Tibbits to include at least the first four alternate items, which they deem "essential." They included completion of the foundation and structural system of bleacher wings, plumbing and electrical work and "completion of the historic mauka exterior facade of the bleachers."
The other 11 alternatives can be done in-house, said Randall Fujiki, design and construction director.
Those items included ramps and walkways, swimming pool equipment, street lighting and a sand volleyball court.
The Council voted 6-3 last month to grant the project a special management area use permit. Hannemann was one of the supporters.
The public has been split on restoration of the Natatorium, built in 1927 as a memorial to World War I veterans.
Critics say that full restoration is too expensive and that health questions tied to water circulation have not been answered.
Proponents say that today's technology can deal with the circulation and that tearing down the facility could cost nearly as much as restoration.