Tale Of Two Centers... My Memory's Hot...
Thursday, July 5, 2001
The partners in the renovation project, including Sunset Center for the Arts and the city of Carmel, spent approximately two years of jumping through various environmental, historical and cultural hoops. In April 2001, a budget of $12.6 million for the renovations was approved by the city and the project was put out for public bid.
But when the June 20 deadline for the bids rolled around, none of the five bidders even came close to meeting the budget restrictions; the nearest bid was $15.9 million from Roebbelen Contracting, Inc., of El Dorado Hills. That''s more than $3 million--a whopping 26 percent--over budget. Not only has it stopped the project dead in its tracks, it''s left planners trying to figure out what went wrong in the budgeting process and how to proceed.
Bill Camille, a consultant whom the city hired to manage the project, says he''s spoken with Roebbelen and the "what" may be easier to determine than the "how."
Camille is loathe to talk details before the city has a chance to review his findings but allows that the budget overrun is partially due to current market conditions.
The original budget, he says, relied on a general contractor''s ability to find enough interested subcontractors that their bids would be competitive. But with the construction boom that lasted into last year, coupled with a slowdown that began late last year and continues today, potential subcontractors were wary of making what could be a long-term commitment to the renovation project. Not only were there fewer subcontractors bidding on the project than were expected, those who did came in with higher bids than expected.
"They were fairly conservative in their bids, probably figuring it might take many more hours [than could be predicted]," Camille says. "You don''t know what kind of problems you''re going to face in the field."
But if that at least partly answers the "what went wrong?" question, it does little to help "what do we do about it?"
Although Camille says he''s identified a few places where the budget could be trimmed, it''s nowhere near enough to cover the difference. In order for the project to move forward, it will almost undoubtedly take a larger financial commitment by the city and/or Sunset Center for the Arts.
Still, the project--with nearly a decade''s worth of work behind it--has probably attained enough momentum that this won''t stop the renovation.
"My feeling is that everybody would like to see the project work," says Camille. "Everyone has worked very hard on this project, and everyone would like to it go forward."
My Memory''s Shot... A couple weeks ago I wrote about the problems I experienced with the CD-ROM in the Just Enough guitar learning package. The complaint about crashes and slow load times was enough to bring about a visitation from a couple of representatives from the Carmel-based Just Enough company. They wanted to know why I was having a problem when no one else had voiced similar complaints. After some tinkering on my iMac and a few groans, they pronounced that I had a memory problem. My system eats up about 20 megs of my minuscule 32mb of RAM, so I just barely had enough left over to cover the 12 megs needed by Just Enough. After conferring for a bit, company founder and CEO Chris McKay and software hotshot Rob DiCiuccio agreed that although the CD-ROM could run on 32mb of RAM, it would run much better with either more memory or a leaner system. The personal attention--which McKay says comes with each kit--was really nice. I can''t remember the last time Bill Gates or Steve Jobs dropped by the office when we had problems with their gadgets.
--Chuck Thurman (firstname.lastname@example.org)