Centennial Manor courtyard projects hit construction cost snag

Manitoulin Centennial Manor

LITTLE CURRENT—It comes as little surprise to anyone considering new construction in recent months that costs to build have escalated dramatically. Manitoulin Centennial Manor’s board was confronted with that conundrum at its most recent meeting as they considered response to a request for proposals (RFP) for the construction of the Manor’s new courtyard project. The project would create a much expanded and better designed outdoor space for residents and their visitors.

There was only a single bidder on the project RFP and that bid was far beyond what was anticipated at the start of the project.

“Pricing was much higher than expected—considerably,” noted Manor administrator Don Cook, who pointed to supply chain issues with some of the materials as causing much of the challenge.

That news has instigated a review of the plans for the courtyard project by the designer to determine if alternate materials could be used or if there would be a need for design changes.

The project is a beneficiary of a significant donation commitment from an anonymous donor who has indicated that they would be willing to entertain an increase in their commitment, but given the size of the jump in projected costs the donors would need to be consulted, noted Mr. Cook.

Questions were raised as to where the RFP was advertised and consideration given to reissuing the RFP. Mr. Cook noted that the project was advertised locally and that the designer had pitched the project to three or four contractors she had worked with in the past, but in the end those contacts had declined to bid on the project.

There is some concern for the project as a funding grant aimed at the project stipulates work being completed by September 30. The Manor has already applied and received an extension to the deadline and Mr. Cook noted that, given the constraints of the pandemic, the ministry might be amendable to a further extension, but such an extension could not be counted upon.

Staff will continue to explore the options available and report back to the board.

In other renovation projects, Mr. Cook noted that the dining room project was moving forward with tables now in place and the residents’ council is being consulted on the colour scheme for the painting. Flatware has been chosen and arrived.

Contractors are coming in to assess the scope of doing the whole dining room project or whether it should be broken up into segments, noted Mr. Cook. “Hopefully, within budget.”

Final work on the new phone system is underway and the air conditioning revamp should be completed by the end of March. Although the pandemic has wreaked havoc on scheduling contractors, the flooring issues on the lower level are being assessed. Issues with the elevator have not yet been addressed, but the repair company is working to schedule a technician.