Gladys McCoy Health Headquarters construction moves forward as Board approves budget

June 30, 2017

Excavation and construction work underway at the new Health headquarters.
Excavation and construction work underway at the new Health headquarters.

Four months after breaking ground, construction workers have installed all major elements of the foundation for the new Gladys McCoy Health Department building. They’re pouring concrete for a large utility basement and a tower crane is up and running across from Union Station.

“We are on schedule with construction and the impacts to the local residents and access for our neighborhood has been well maintained,’ said Steven Cruzen of Shiels Obletz Johnsen told the Board of County Commissioners. Among the findings:  no hidden conditions or environmental issues.

“So that is good news,’’ Cruzen said.

The update came as the Board authorized a “guaranteed maximum price amendment’’ with JE Dunn Construction, the construction manager/ general contractor on June 15. They were briefed on the amendment and construction progress at the June 8 and June 15 meetings.

The guaranteed maximum price is “our best estimate, our budget for the project that reflects input from the architect, engineers, general contractor,’’ said Ken Elliott, senior assistant county attorney. “Instead of having design, bid, build, we have a joint process and the contractor permits to performing at performing, the county commits to paying.,’’ said Ken Elliott, assistant county attorney.

The GMP sets a construction budget of $64.8 million bringing the estimated total budget to $94.1 million. About $7 million of that is for contingencies, or about 7.6 percent of the project total.

At a briefing Commissioner Loretta Smith questioned why the contingency wasn’t the usual 10 percent.

Cruzen told the board that typically, contingencies are higher earlier in the project when there are more unknowns. “As time marches on, we also know we are going to be hit with inflation and escalation, and that’s why we began with over $13 million. When we got to the point where we could define the full hard costs of construction, we assigned several million dollars that was specifically set aside specifically for inflation and design to soften that impact.

“At this point, knowing that the $7.2 million that we have is a responsible figure for managing the kinds of changes and other influences that could occur throughout the cost of construction.’’

The project had aspired to the county’s goals of having 20 percent of the contracts go to minority-owned, women-owned and emerging small businesses. While on track to meet that goal in the construction contract, the design contract included just 8.4 percent participation.

Commissioners Smith, Jessica Vega Pederson and Lori Stegmann all expressed concern that the project meet those county’s equity goals.

The County is replacing the 1923 McCoy building at 426 SW Stark with a new “modern, durable, flexible and efficient’’ nine-story building, said Project Manager Brett Taute.  The county acquired the half block from the Portland Housing Bureau on Jan. 26, 2017 and on Feb. 17, began construction.

Under the county’s policy approval process, the Board has to approve spending on any new construction that exceeds more than $1 million at each new milestone.

More than $36.4 million of the project is being funded by the Prosper Portland, formerly the Portland Development Commission. After the vote, the commissioners thanked the team for their work on the project, which first officially launched in 2010.

“Now go get your shovels and hard hats and get back out there,’’ said Chair Deborah Kafoury

Guaranteed Maximum Price Amendment with JE Dunn (6.35 MB)