Stormont Vail Events Center renovation expected to finish by spring – News – The Topeka Capital-Journal

Work is expected to be substantially complete by next spring – and perhaps as early as February – on Shawnee County’s $48 million project to renovate Stormont Vail Events Center, county commissioners learned Monday.

Commissioners Bill Riphahn, Kevin Cook and Aaron Mays heard an update on that from county counselor Jim Crowl during their morning meeting at the Great Overland Station.

“We’re in really good shape with regard to the schedule on the project,” Crowl said.

Commissioners subsequently voted 3-0 to approve four change orders to the county’s contract with McCownGordon Construction LLC for the project, for which construction has been in progress since May 2019.

The project is being financed using $45 million in revenue from a countywide, half-cent sales tax Shawnee County voters approved in 2014 and $3 million in excess county reserve funds.

The change orders approved Monday add $244,154 to the amount Shawnee County is paying McCownGordon.

They don’t increase the project’s total price tag because the county will pay the change order costs using contingency funds set aside for the project.

Monday’s orders were the fifth through eighth change orders made to the contract with McCownGordon.

One change order simply adds three days to the project’s planned substantial completion date, moving it to May 7, 2021, from May 4, 2021, Crowl said.

The others take various steps that include adding a natural gas line and increasing the amount the county spends to improve lighting, drainage and parking facilities.

One order arranges for the county to spend $107,150 to create 17 pedestals for recreational vehicles in the events center’s south parking lot, Crowl said.

Though the events center will lose a number of RV pedestals on its west side due to the renovation, the change order approved Monday will ensure that it expands on what it previously offered in terms of RV pedestals, said Expocentre general manager Kellen Seitz.

The events center makes about $400,000 a year through rentals of RV space, he said.

Monday’s change order approvals leave the county with a little more than $1 million in its contingency fund for the events center renovation project, Crowl said.

He said he planned in coming weeks to talk with commissioners about reinserting some previously removed “extras” back into the project budget to be financed using contingency funds.

But the county can’t afford to carry out previously discarded plans, which would have enabled the events center’s Exhibition Hall to have more meeting rooms and event space than are currently planned, Crowl said.

“Those are going to be outside the scope of what we’re going to be able to do,” he said.

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