Bids went out in June for the second time for a building refresh at the Bob Chisholm Community Center. After bids came in high the first time around, City Councilors rejected the proposals and delayed the renovation of the city-owned building at 1225 Avenue A.

This time around, numbers came in high — at $306,000, almost $40,000 more than the low bid amount delivered in December— but the results were different. On Monday council members unanimously endorsed the project, with the rationale that the project was needed and costs would only increase in months and years to come.

“It’s a unique facility for any town of this size,” Councilor Steve Wright said. “I’m willing to say let’s go ahead with it.”

Darren Gooch, IT and Marketing Manager for the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District, which manages the Community Center, said project plans and labor costs haven’t changed, but the cost of materials has ballooned since the last bid. “The materials on the project are nearly double,” Gooch said.

In December, the city received three bids, the highest nearing $390,000, the lowest at $257,000, significantly higher than original cost estimates of $170,000 to $190,000 quoted by architects in July 2017.

On Monday, Mayor Jay Barber urged councilors to accept the latest — and only — bid, presented by Helligso Construction Co. of Astoria.

“I have no hesitancy at all,” Barber said. “I think we should accept this bid and move forward because I don’t believe we’ll see any reduction in construction costs in the next two years. If we put it out to bid then, it could be $340,000 and we’d be in the same place. I think we should cut our losses at this point and spend the additional (money).”

About $52,000 toward the cost of the project has been raised through donations, Community Center Commission member Lou Neubecker said.

Fundraising will continue, with a Fascination tournament scheduled in September.

The renovation will highlight the center’s beams and tongue-and-groove ceiling, while providing much-needed improvements to the room’s acoustics and energy efficiency, according to Community Center commissioners in a 2017 presentation.

Project specifications detailed in the June 15 bid request consisted of demolition and updating wall coverings in the main hall, new window treatments, replacement of electrical fixtures and lighting upgrades.

To pay for the higher costs, funds may come from capital improvement funds designated for remodeling the city’s restrooms, City Manager Mark Winstanley said. “They are an important asset to our community. So we don’t want them neglected either.”

Barber and councilors Wright, Seth Morrisey, Tom Horning and Randy unanimously voted to accept the bid proposal. Councilors Tita Montero and Dana Phillips were absent.

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