TURLOCK -- The city's new Public Safety Facility is $1.5 million over budget but still on track to be open this June.
Michael Pitcock, a city engineer and director of development services, said the $28.3 million budget approved by the City Council in February has grown to $29.8 million in the past year.
Much of the increase had to do with a four-month delay caused by soil contamination found on site. There also was a shortfall in anticipated savings.
Still, Pitcock assured council members Tuesday night that the project is on its way and the increases should be covered.
"The costs for the project are a little higher than anticipated, but we have additional funding we didn't anticipate in the game plan," he said. "So overall, we're looking good."
Once completed, the 57,000-square-foot facility will house the city's police and fire services.
The project went over budget in a few areas, including more than $350,000 in savings from "value engineering" that never materialized. Value engineering is a process of maximizing value for initial and long-term investments that can include sustainable elements.
More of the overrun came from the discovery of soil contamination, which delayed the project after its March 2011 groundbreaking. The additional time accounted for an additional $613,000 in construction time and so-called soft expenses, as well as associated increases. As a result, there were some $526,000 on contract change orders.
"Not only did we have to deal with the soil contamination, it delayed the project," Pitcock said. "And when you delay the project, you tend to have people asking for more money."
The council already has approved the majority of the order changes, but one increase of $341,400 from the project architect still must be reviewed. Pitcock said the full amount of the order already has been included in the budget, but he hopes to negotiate down the cost.
Pitcock said the budget increases will be funded through a variety of sources, including an estimated $4 million in redevelopment agency money the city had not anticipated receiving.
Turlock's new safety center was one of the last expenditures the redevelopment agency funded before the state discontinued the agencies.
The additional funding resolution passed in a unanimous vote at the Tuesday meeting.
Councilman Steven Nascimento praised Pitcock and his department for handling the costs of the large project.
"I commend you guys for trying to keep the costs down," he said. "I expected it to be much higher."
The safety center is nearing final work on its facade and in the next two weeks will begin on one of its parking lots. Inside, the electricity has been connected and wiring and lighting work is under way.
Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.