by Sam Hieb
Last week the Winston-Salem City Council approved an additional $1.4 million toward the renovation of the Benton Convention Center, pushing the cost to $19.9 million. Big surprise there.
According to the Winston Salem Journal:
$150,000 for problems that cropped up during the renovation of the downstairs part of the convention center, including lower-level restroom repairs, ceiling work in the exhibition hall, and repairs needed in the third floor administrative offices.
$113,000 for maintenance issues that hadn’t been dealt with in the past: water damage, mold and repairs to unsupported electrical and data cables.
$335,000 for work on the skywalk that connects Benton with a parking deck. Initially, the project didn’t include any money for the skywalk, but city officials were told that it would be good to have heating and air conditioning in the space as well as exterior enhancements.
$302,000 for carpet for the lower level of the convention center, which officials say is needed to make the space better suited for events.
$500,000 to cover the cost of any unknown problems that might exist on the upper level of the convention center. Officials are basing that amount on the problems uncovered on the lower level and say they won’t spend any money beyond what is needed.
Obviously I’m not a contractor but I’ll go out on a limb and say this seems like pretty basic stuff that should have been on drawing board from the get-go. Meanwhile the Journal editorializes that the cost overruns were “unavoidable but needed” and –get this—“it seems reasonable to expect other problems that are currently unknown.”
More “reasonable, unknown problems” popping up would be pushing the May 4 deadline, would it not?