Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Revised building cost estimates

Official challenges cost to build new Appleton library
APPLETON — The city's construction chief says a reported estimate of about $40 million to build a new downtown library is too high. ...
We've been trying to tell people that's it's premature to talk about costs, and have characterized published numbers as estimates, not a plan. Thanks to City Facilities Director Dean Gazza and Durrant architect Jerry Olson, we have a better approximation of potential costs for a new library. The estimate is under $30 million, not the $41 million the newspaper had previously reported -- based on a ballpark per square foot that one consultant reluctantly used.

But even this better number is still preliminary. Until there has been program design, site selection and engineering study to determine site preparation costs, cost estimates will be guesswork and speculation. There are too many unknown variables, and choices yet to be made. We need to keep thinking, talking and asking questions. We should keep taking careful steps forward.