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November 17, 2017

Budget cuts will delay UW North Campus housing

  • The school has reduced the scope of the project and rebid the GC/CM contract as design-build.
  • By BENJAMIN MINNICK
    Journal Construction Editor

    Image from UW
    New housing in North Campus will include four new dorms in two phases, and a future replacement for Haggett Hall.

    The University of Washington has terminated W.G. Clark Construction's contract for Phase IV (b) housing in the North Campus area, and has rebid it as a design-build project.

    Clark was performing GC/CM preconstruction services on that phase, which originally included demolition of Haggett Hall, renovation of Denny Field and construction of two new dorms with 1,050 beds.

    Construction costs were estimated at $92 million after Clark won the contract in August 2016.

    Seattle-based Clark is continuing to build the $253 million Phase IV (a) under a GC/CM contract. That phase includes nearly 1,800 beds in three dorms on land between Haggett and Hansee halls. It has a maximum allowable construction cost of $180 million and is expected to be finished in fall 2018.

    Danielle Finseth, senior project manager at Clark, said the Phase IV (b) contract was “terminated for owner convenience.”

    Shane Ruegamer, UW's project manager for Phase IV (b), wrote in an email that “the original project was canceled due to significant revisions in the planned project after the GC/CM was selected.”

    Clark was issued a termination letter for Phase IV (b) in late August. About $3 million had been spent of the $10 million preconstruction budget for that phase.

    “Based on the buy-out of the Phase IV (a) project, current market pricing contributed to the estimated projected cost of Phase IV (b),” Ruegamer wrote. “Unlike in the current private market, the opportunity to negotiate and solicit pricing favorable to the budget was not an option available to UW given the public bid process.”

    The DJC reported in September 2016 that the construction value of Phase IV (a) was $163.5 million. That was prior to completion of design documentation and most of the subbiding for the project. The $180 million MACC was established last month, according to Finseth.

    “Project size, market conditions, subcontractor and vendor availability all played a role in increased costs,” Ruegamer wrote. “As is evidenced by the skyline and the inumerable number of cranes around Seattle, a number of past participants in the public bid process were either engaged in other projects within Seattle's busy market or opted to chase private projects.”

    Ruegamer said projects bidding at the UW are getting “good coverage” but not as good as three to four years ago because there are fewer contractors and subcontractors available for public projects. He said feedback from subcontractors indicated many were at capacity and others preferred private projects.

    Design-build qualifications were received last week for the rebid of Phase IV (b). Ruegamer said three teams met the deadline and will enter the evaluation phase. A fourth team did not make the deadline. He would not disclose the finalists.

    W.G. Clark did not bid on the revised Phase IV (b) contract.

    Next, the UW will shortlist the qualified teams and then issue a request for proposals. Ruegamer said the UW would like to have three finalists. Proposals will be evaluated and a winning team picked in mid-January.

    The UW would like the Phase IV (b) design-build team to include KieranTimberlake, the Philadelphia-based architect on Phase IV (a), in some fashion. In an advertisement that ran Oct. 10 in the DJC, the UW said it wanted KieranTimberlake to be part of the team “so that innovative approaches which reduce cost, meet allowable budget, improve constructability, and meet the design intent to the greatest degree possible are developed collaboratively.”

    Ruegamer said including KieranTimberlake is not a requirement.

    Budget cuts

    The budget for Phase IV (b) was also chopped — from $140 million to around $86.2 million — because $70 million in institutional debt is not available. Ruegamer said the school last spring looked at its debt capacity and put its internal lending program on hold. Phase IV (b) will now be funded entirely by Housing & Food Services revenue.

    The cuts will eliminate construction of the 700-bed replacement for Haggett Hall, delay construction of the 361-bed Oak Hall by one year, and delay Denny Field renovation and Haggett Hall demolition by at least two years. Landscape improvements behind Lewis Hall will still be made in this phase.

    Ruegamer said the UW would like to build the new Haggett Hall in a future phase. After the existing Haggett is demolished, the site will be open space until the replacement is built.

    UW regents will vote in January 2019 to approve the budget and financing for Phase IV (b), as well as approve the Oak Hall name. The board already approved the use of alternative contracting for it.

    Construction on Oak Hall is scheduled to start in July 2019 and the dorm will open in fall 2020.

    A UW document dated Sept. 14 referencing the Finance and Asset Management Committee said demolition of Haggett Hall and renovation of Denny Field could start in July 2021, with completion in fall 2022.

    Ruegamer said they would like to start after Oak Hall is mostly finished, in July 2020, and finish by summer 2021.

    The schedule ultimately depends on when UW Housing & Food Services provides funding.

    The document said housing demand for the current academic year exceeded supply by 34 percent. It said housing for the current quarter is at 113 percent, with excess students mostly housed in double rooms converted to triples.


     


    Benjamin Minnick can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.


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