CASPER, Wyo. – Casper City Council said Tuesday it was comfortable with a request from staff to go ahead and purchase HVAC components for a future upgrade project at the hotel in town.
The city has set aside $2.6 million for possible upgrades to City Hall, and that money would be used to purchase the two air handlers needed, City Manager Carter Napier said. The city has been looking to upgrade City Hall, a facility built in 1978, for some time, but city council this spring decided to put the project on hold after bids from five construction companies all returned to costs at the north of $6 million. .
Rising material costs amid inflation “resulted in much higher bids than expected,” said a memo from city staff this spring. Such inflationary pressure and delays in receiving HVAC components are two of the reasons Napier said during the Tuesday, June 14 business session that staff were seeking City Council approval to purchase the HVAC units. ‘air.
The city would purchase the air handlers and store them until the decision was made to move forward with the overall city hall project. The air handlers will cost about $150,000 to $180,000 each, two of which will be needed if the purchase happens now, Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Director Zulima Lopez said.
Exactly the cost increase if the city waits to buy the air handlers is uncertain, though Lopez said she’s confident the city will save money by buying now because of what’s happening. goes with inflation. She added that some HVAC components take 30 to 50 weeks to ship, so buying the air handlers now could ensure the overall project isn’t delayed when it happens.
City Hall’s air handlers need attention because the one serving the council chamber recently experienced leaks, Lopez said.
Council member Bruce Knell asked for assurances that approving these purchases now would not result in the city buying air handlers that will be obsolete by the time the project comes to fruition. Air handlers are components that tend to last for decades, and staff are confident that what is purchased will be viable when the City Hall project comes to fruition, Lopez said.
Councilor Lisa Engebretsen asked if there were other components the city could buy now to avoid higher costs in the future, noting that she raised a similar question when city council discussed the project at spring.
According to Napier and Lopez, HVAC components are among the biggest drivers of rising material prices the city is experiencing, with air handlers being the most important components.
Mayor Ray Pacheco suggested that City Council give staff permission to move forward with air handler purchases and investigate if there are any other components that could be purchased early to avoid higher costs when the project occurs. Council members indicated that they agreed with this suggestion.
Details of the overall City Hall project are available in this article.