DuPage panel picks builder for Nicarico center
Artist's rendering of the new DuPage County Children's Advocacy Center/Family Center in Wheaton. |Illustration courtesy~Serena Sturm Architects.
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:07AM
Planners have selected their preferred builder for a new facility that will memorialize a Naperville girl slain nearly 30 years ago.
DuPage County’s Public Works Committee June 19 passed along a unanimous recommendation to hire John Burns Construction Co. to build the Jeanine Nicarico Children’s Advocacy Center — a new home for the county program that aids kids who have been victimized by crime — and the DuPage Family Center on the county’s Wheaton campus. The Orland Park contractor submitted the lowest qualifying bid, at $4,596,808. The nine quotes submitted for the 12,000 square-foot facility ranged from $4,316,000 to $5,303,000.
The project initially had a construction budget of no more than $3 million, but when the likely price tag swelled well above projections, an array of non-critical details underwent new scrutiny. This time, certain improvements were kept in the bids that made sense to do now rather than later, committee chairman Jim Healy said. Among them are acoustic elements on the north side that will help muffle the noise from the adjacent railroad tracks, and transoms on the south side that will help regulate the temperature and control heating and cooling costs. A large conference room also was kept in the plans, along with a ring road that will encircle the facility and enhance future access to adjacent development.
“We thought it was better to bite the bullet and put it in now,” Healy said.
Named to honor the memory of the 10-year-old girl who was taken from her Naperville home and murdered in 1983, the center at one point was envisioned for completion this year. Once ground is broken, it is expected to take about nine months to finish the building. If it is approved by the full board next week, the contract with Burns will have an expiration date of Nov. 30, 2013.
The first set of bids was tossed out last year, after they all came back upward of $5 million. Officials at that point agreed to hire the resident engineering firm Wight and Co. to help identify potential cost savings.
“Staff went back, did a phenomenal job with Wight and Company,” Healy said. “We were able to cut approximately $700,000 in costs.”
The Burns bid, which drew approval from the full committee, includes contingency allowances of about $330,000. If they’re not needed, that money will be available for other needs after the new center is finished.
“We’re already talking about what roof we’d be able to replace,” said Healy, who has been a member of the advocacy center’s board since 1999.
A variety of unconventional tools are being used to finance the $5.37 million undertaking. The County Board agreed nearly a year ago to tap $3 million in General Fund reserves to pay for most of the project. The interdepartmental loan will be retired using traffic ticket surcharges collected by the state and passed along to the county that typically come to around $300,000 annually. Officials expect it will take about a decade to retire the debt.
Also helping cover the center’s costs are a $59,000 grant from the county Stormwater Department and $300,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds.