Saturday, January 30, 1999

Natatorium project
will stay within
budget, city
officials promise

Some of the restoration's
hoped-for features may not
be done if the contract stays
under $11.1 million

By Gordon Pang


City administration officials have promised not to ask the City Council for more money to restore the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.

Randy Fujiki, director of the Design and Construction Department, said he and Healy Tibbits Builders are close to finalizing a contract that would add important work into the original contract without going over the $11.1 million the Council set aside for construction.

The statement, made to the Council's Budget Committee yesterday, staves off a threatened reconsideration by some Council members of approvals for the 70-year-old structure.

But it also might mean that some of the hoped-for features of a restored natatorium won't be done.

Council members earlier this month were outraged when they learned that winning bidder Healy Tibbits Builders' "basic bid" of $10.8 million did not include crucial items such as reconstruction of bleachers and restoration of the arch wall and interior areas, including showers, toilets and lockers under the bleachers.

Healy Tibbits' original estimate said including all of the list of 14 "alternate" items would cost $18.4 million.

Fujiki said the revised contract would include four items that he described as "basic to the project." The four items, according to Healy Tibbits' original estimates, would have cost an additional $5.9 million.

While essential, the items were left out of the basic bid description so that his staff could negotiate for them and "establish firm costs for each," Fujiki said.

He said the small number of bidders and the high bids received were influenced by a shortened bidding period, the holiday season and uncertainty about the project's future.

Fujiki said the Friends of the Natatorium has agreed to raise about $175,000 for floating docks and pool equipment. The city intends to look for federal dollars to help with some of the other improvements and will do others in house, he said.

Some items, including new light fixtures along the driveway fronting the facility, won't be done.

Councilwoman Donna Mercado Kim blasted the administration for underestimating costs for a project it knew would cost more in order to win approvals.

Fujiki responded, "Our plan was, and still is, to award the contract for under $11 million."

Council Chairman Mufi Hannemann, who threatened to have approvals granted by the Council reconsidered based on misrepresentation, demanded to have in writing Fujiki's promise to stay within budget.

E-mail to City Desk

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