No pun: The following is but another exercise in project management failure here at 111. Not a week after our Board president proudly announced that “Our much anticipated fitness center renovation is slated to start in September,” it’s been tabled. The Fitness Center Rehab is now on life support. Sad part is, this is not a unique case.
Here, from concept to almost execution, for learning purposes, is a brief chronology of key events:
Per the Meeting Minutes, at the January 17 Board Meeting: “President Milazzo, Vice President Del Monico and Director Gajderowicz reviewed information prepared on the Fitness Center renovation and new strength equipment purchase. Discussion was held. The Board determined that the new strength equipment would be ordered due to its 5-6 week lead time and would further investigate construction proposals for the potential sauna removal and flooring replacement.”
The idea basically was to update key pieces of equipment; and then open up the existing space by removing the sauna and taking down the wall separating the cardio room from the weight room.
At the meeting, there was some discussion as to taking down “the wall.” At that time, one architect had suggested that that was not advised. Milazzo recommended the board research other architects.
After the January 7 meeting, the new equipment was purchased and put in storage.
On February 7, a special Board Meeting was held for the exclusive purpose of the Fitness Center. First Star Construction was approved to do the job. At the meeting, Milazzo promised that the project would be completed by the end of March.
First Star’s George Tudor subsequently submitted an application for . But note the description: REMOVE EXISTING ELECTRIC FOR DRY SAUNA RELOCATE 2 OUTLETS AND 1 SWITCH. REMOVE AND REPLACE 6 RECESS LIGHTS. This is where the train comes off the track. George got the contract because he came in with the lowest bid. However, as there wasn’t a RFP bid form, the specs per the 3 bidding contractors were not “apples to apples,” according to Gajderowicz.
Anyway, on February 18, the Building Department approved permit #100528019.
But then mysteriously, the project took a powder. Months after the February 7 meeting, Tudor said, “I’ve heard nothing,” i.e. Milazzo had not given him the go-ahead to start.
Then on May 23, George happen to file for to: REMOVE INTERIOR CEMENT BLOCK PARTITIONS ON THE 10TH FLOOR AND REPAIR. And on August 11, a permit was issued to include proper shoring to remove what’s now understood to be a load-bearing wall.
That brings us to the agenda item at Thursday’s board meeting: “Approve Updated Fitness Center Construction Proposal.” Why? Well, as the wall was apparently not in the original spec, George wanted more money. That then reopened the project to competitive bid. The original bids were from five different companies. The second round only included the three lowest bidders. However, and here’s where it gets whacky, the first-round’s highest bidder included wall removal where none else did. Arrrgh.
That said, there was a second round of bidding. This included only the lowest bidders from the first round. The three new bids for construction included: First Star at $19.4K, MPD (via Sudler Property Management) at $19.9, and Gold Coast Construction at $13.4K.
Gajderowicz again underscored that the bids were “not apples to apples.” Asia said, “In the new bids MPD didn’t include specs for the new wall and insulation, THE single most important piece [of the project]. This is exactly why we are rebidding the job. The truth is we are rebidding because it was done completely wrong the first time. Long story short, we have a management company that is in charge of our projects but with little knowledge how to do it right.”
At this point in Thursday’s Board Meeting, Director Serap Brush asked the all-important question: “Where are we with the $40K budget?”
Ballpark… we’re now at $16K for equipment, $20K for construction, and First Star has the wall-work at $4,600. Per Brush: “Each time we look at it there are more questions. There are too many questions to have a vote. I am not assured that this is not going to escalate.”
Sudler’s Bob Graf then said he’d “prepare a bid form.” Milazzo then tabled the initiative.
Insult to injury: According to the Building Department, any revision to the scope of work or change of contractor will again require new building permits.
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OP-ED: The buck stops where? Why are several current Board members now saying that this is standard practice with our current Board President, and subsequently calling for his ouster? Something needs to change.
STORY UPDATE 9/20: See Board Meeting Minutes from 9/11/14.