Ute Theatre renovations cost Rifle more than expected | PostIndependent.com

Ute Theatre renovations cost Rifle more than expected

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – While work on the Ute Theatre’s facade has the building looking as new as it did when it was built in 1946, asbestos has stalled renovations to the building’s interior.

In a memo from Rifle Government Affairs Coordinator Mike Braaten to city manager John Hier, the city submitted a request for a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment grant, for approximately $60,000, to help pay for removing asbestos from the building. The city of Rifle would have to put up $20,000 in matching funds if the grant is awarded.

The total amount for the work includes the lowest bid price for the project of $80,738, according to the memo: $74,538 of which will cover the asbestos removal work by Monarch Site Services, and $6,200 for Walsh Environmental for project monitoring and related services.

However, not included in the contractor’s bid price is the removal and storage costs of the approximately 400 seats in theater, that will have to be removed and stored for the duration of the work, Braaten told council at its Jan. 6 meeting. Braaten requested that city council approve $30,000 in capital funds to cover the portion of matching funds and to cover the cost of removal and storage of the seats.

According to Hier, the funds were earmarked in the city’s 2010 budget but were never used.

“They were earmarked there last year, in the hope that we would get this resolved by the end of the year,” Hier said at the Jan. 6 meeting. “Of course, that didn’t happen.”

The asbestos removal is expected to take 60 days to complete once the contractor is given a notice to proceed from the city. However, that won’t happen until the city hears back from the Department of Public Health regarding the grant.

The $30,000 is also contingent upon the award and acceptance of the grant.

Phase two of the project, which includes interior renovations, can’t begin until the asbestos abatement is completed. However, the phase one work, which includes renovations to the building’s exterior, have also been slowed by additional work as well.

New Ute Theatre Society (NUTS) president Gil Frontella approached City Council at its Jan. 6 meeting requesting an additional $34,000 in funding to help cover what he called “unanticipated costs” during the exterior renovations to the facility. Council approved the additional funds to cover the costs of phase one at that meeting.

The additional costs are a direct result of unanticipated construction problems encountered during renovation of the building’s exterior, according to Frontella. Extra structural work was needed to reinforce the building’s exterior walls to help support the new columns added to the front, Frontella explained to council. The building’s electrical system had to also be updated to support new LED lighting on the facade as well, he said.

“It seemed as though, each area that we started on, at each turn there were unanticipated problems that showed up,” Frontella said.

He added that anyone with experience in remodeling an old building knows that it’s like opening a can of worms.

“That is pretty much what we are involved in,” he told council.

Phase one renovations were expected to be completed by the end of 2010, but the unforeseen problems and asbestos discovery extended phase one, and stalled the beginning of phase two work to the interior.

The contract between the city and NUTS will likely have to be amended to allow for the additional funds that will come out of the 2011 budget, according to city manager Hier.

Braaten said that he expects that the city should be notified of the additional grant award by the end of January, with asbestos removal beginning soon after.

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