YMCA hoping bids show reduction

Published 2:17 pm Friday, January 28, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles-Buchanan YMCA officials are hoping that the cost of steel and other building materials has gone down enough that it will appear in the bids they are looking to receive for their new building at the corner of Front and Pokagon streets.
The project which is to cost $9.5 million was delayed due to cost overruns, but still remains on track for construction to begin in mid spring.
Construction of the project was to begin in the spring of 2004, but cost factors made that unable to happen. Hendrie said that steel and concrete costs were $2 million higher than anticipated. This frustrated the Y's campaign committee which had surpassed a minimum $3.1 million fund-raising goal.
Fund-raising efforts are still going on, said Hendrie. He also stated that project officials are optimistically hoping that the price of steel has stabilized.
This summer the steel market was quite volatile, Hendrie added.
With the higher than anticipated costs, the Y's officials went to the Niles City Council seeking a reduction or even an elimination of the city permits for the project. The council agreed to waive half of those fees.
Due to the high costs, some of the aspects of the project had to be eliminated, but Hendrie said the integrity of the building, designed by Vintage Archonics, a Fort Wayne, Ind. based company, hasn't been lost.
The building will include a six-lane regulation swimming pool and an elevated track that is slightly shorter than one-eighth of a mile. The building is designed along the lines of a Victorian style train station, seeing as how Niles has a long association with the railroad.
This new building is going to replace the current 44,000-square-foot structure that current holds the Y which was built 44 years ago. The current building is structurally sound, but has some problems the do require some frequent attention.
The current Y property is going to be sold, those funds will be used to pay off some of the costs of the new building. Also the Y officials have signed a 20-year lease with the St. Joseph-based Lakeland Regional Health System, which will be operating a rehabilitations center in the new Y.
Bid packages are due to Weigand Construction, the Ft. Wayne, Ind. construction management firm that has been brought in to help expedite the process, by Feb. 21.
For additional information regarding this project please contact Bret Hendrie, Executive Director, Niles-Buchanan YMCA at (269) 683-1552.