Simplified: The city budgeted $6 million to fix the Washington Pavilion's parapet and cornice, i.e. the fancy little fence-type ornamentation along the roof of the downtown building. Now, it's looking like the project won't cost as much.

Why it matters

  • The parapet and cornice need replacing. Scott Rust, purchasing manager with the city, told councilors Wednesday that water has been leaking into the building, and – while there's no immediate threat – it's time to fix it before something falls off.
  • The more architects and contractors looked at the project, the more small changes were made. And many of those changes come with cost savings, Steve Jastram with Architecture, Inc. told councilors.
  • Initially budgeted at $6 million, the project is now estimated to cost $4.2 million. That savings could mean having the money to install color-changing LED back lighting as part of the restoration project, Rust said.
"This is pretty exciting news," Councilor Pat Starr said, joking that the council would be "jumping up and down" at the news of saving money.

What kind of work is being done?

It's a replacement of the parapet and cornice. In the photo below, the parapet is the fence-like structure on top of the building comprised of balusters. The cornice is the decorative ledge below the parapet.

Around the entire building, these will be replaced with the new fiberglass replicas.

What led to the cost savings?

Much of the savings comes from opting to use lift equipment instead of scaffolding to get the work done. The lift equipment is more expensive to rent, Jastram said, but it'll save money by making the process quicker.

  • Savings also comes in pre-assembling the fiberglass balusters and 12-foot sections of cornice.
  • The restored parapet will also slightly change the placement of the balusters to make it easier to attach the cornice.
  • And the balusters themselves will be just slightly shorter, saving money there, too.

What happens next?

The project is expected to go to bid in the coming months with construction starting late summer or early fall. It'll take about a year to get the whole thing done, Rust said.