Swim Center funding – a retrospective

As the debate surrounding funding for Greensboro’s proposed swim center heats up, I thought a little background might be in order.

  • July 9th, 08 – Parks & Rec Commission votes (PDF, p5) to send a $20M list of projects to City Council.  The swim center is not on that list.
  • July 11th, 08 – City Council ignores the recommendations of the Parks & Rec Commission for the prioritizing future bonds.  A $10M Swim Center is recommended by Council.  Read the comments.
  • Later that month – City Council votes to add a – now $12M – pool bond to the surprising P&R bond.  Sam Heib recaps the events.
  • November 4th, ’08 -The day before the vote,  silence as a strategy for bond passage.

If you look back on it, $20M was always the price tag for a “Regional Swim Center” and Greensboro is backing into that number slowly but surely.  People are pissed at the process, and rightfully so.

Nobody likes anything getting shoved down their throats, even if the thing being shoved might end up being good for them.

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  1. Mick and Ben
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Wether necessary or not I hope all involved learned lessons or at least wont forget some things. It has been a tough go for all and getting tougher. We could use an angel about now.

  2. Jon Firebaugh
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink


  3. Jon Firebaugh
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    The most shameful thing the City Council did was award a Million Dollar Plus No Bd contract for the design of the aquatic center. They didn’t take competing bids and cited the necessity to fast track the project as their reason which is pure BS.
    No bid contracts have a stench that Lysol can’t touch.

  4. Mick
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I am disappointed in the architectural firm being that far off the estimates. Perhaps I dont know something there though.

    I have no idea. Is the million dollar price tag a lot for a rushed 12.6 errrr 17 million dollar facility?

  5. The Estimator
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    With all due respect to the profession, asking an architect for a construction cost estimate is like asking a podiatrist to remove a brain tumor.

  6. dhoggard
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Agreed, Estimator.

    It is the owner’s job to decide what he/she wants. It is the designer’s (architect’s) job to articulate those wants into a set of bid documents.

    The bidders – aka the free market – ultimately will decide the price for the design that has been presented. In this case it was $19M.

    As far as I know, no entity was ever asked to provide an opinion of costs (budget) on this project based on the owner’s wishes (that would be the City’s wishes), which is a critical step.

    The designer was simply hired by the City to produce a set of biddable plans. The project was then advertised for bids by, I’m guessing, pre-qualified General Contractors.

    The cost overrun is the fault of whomever created the list of “wants” within the City. I have no idea who put that list together, but it wasn’t the chosen designer, TFF Architects.

  7. Mick and Ben
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I’ll certainly take it from the experts on this issue. I really did think that estimating was part of the job description as far as architectural design. Or maybe I was just hoping that was the case. My apologoies to the folks my kid went to elementary school with their kid but I cant pronounce their names.

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    [...] I was trying to follow how it was that our City Council went from not overtly considering (Rhino, 3/4 down the article) [...]