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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, March 02, 2024
Union Design

Union Design Committee reviews project’s budget

Progress continued Thursday for construction plans to the west end of the Memorial Union terrace, as the Memorial Union Design Committee discussed the finalized budget for the project that members said should be easily met.

Jeff Niesen, the vice president of the project’s construction manager, said a little more than $40 million of the project’s non-flexible $52 million budget will be used for construction.

Niesen said while his company, called Boldt, is still $1.8 million away from meeting the budget cap, the margin will likely decrease to approximately $200,000 within the next few weeks.

He said one of the ways they will meet this goal is by lowering contingencies, which account for unpredictable expenses that could occur after construction begins.

According to Niesen, risks include unforeseen conditions associated with construction, such as the difficulties with building foundations and tearing down walls. He added Boldt currently spends the equivalent of 10 percent of the total budget on contingencies.

But as construction progresses exposing these uncertain conditions, Niesen said the risk will decrease. He added this process will return money to the budget, which would help offset the $1.8 million deficit and possibly allow certain features to be added back into construction that were previously cut to save money.

“At this moment, we can’t guarantee it,” Niesen said. “Those are goals, those are hopes, those are the things we’re driving for as we go forward.”

Niesen said Boldt is conducting exploratory work to identify unforeseen problems early, so it can predict the amount of contingencies that will be returned to the budget.

Also at the meeting, Committee Member Wendy von Below said the proposed brat stand on the terrace, which was previously designed with indoor grills, was approved to function completely outside. She said this change will allow the stand to be more efficient with quicker moving lines.

Phase one of construction is scheduled to begin in July and will be completed by June 2014.

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