The sprawling, 257-acre Hal and Berni Hanson Regional Park project will cost an estimated $14.8 million more than expected to build.
The park is budgeted to cost $74.3 million, and will include renovating the historic farmhouse on the property, along with construction of up to 17 athletic fields, recreational trails, park offices, nature center, an activity lodge, picnic pavilions, maintenance shops, a splash park, a skate park, and playgrounds. The county has already spent $32.5 million on the park in the past two years, and had expected to spend another $41.8 million this year.
But the Board of Supervisors’ finance committee heard on Oct. 10 that the park is now expected to cost almost $15 million more than expected, even after the design team has reworked some of the park’s engineering to save $4.4 million.
Construction of the park has not yet begun.
Design Program Manager Mark Hoffman of the county Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure said reducing costs beyond that would require cutting something out of the project’s plans.
“If it was decided that we needed to eliminate that extra cost, we could remove several fields and the lighting associated with those fields, but then we’ve altered the project, and that would be something we would need to collectively decide,” he said.
Hoffman said the project speaks to a larger trend in county projects, that the county needs to do “a better job” of predicting the cost of a project when it is first introduced.
And transportation department director Joe Kroboth said his office will be coming back to the finance committee to discuss its method for estimating costs.
“We’re seeing such an aggressive construction market,” Kroboth said. “We typically budget a 4 percent inflation cost for [Capital Improvement Program] projects from year to year. We are seeing growth much greater than that, and the competition with the number of contractors that are bidding our projects is not sufficient enough to bring these numbers down.”
A budget change of that magnitude will likely require adjusting the county’s Capital Improvement Program, a six-year budget that includes all the county’s major construction projects.