Coffman without contractor, major delays expected

by Mark Baumgarten

Members of the Twin Cities Student Union Board of Governors announced Tuesday that the renovation of Coffman Union will be delayed indefinitely at least six months.
The renovation, scheduled for completion in Fall 2001, has been marred by an inability to receive a general contractors’ bid within the budget put forth by the University.
The board rejected bids from three contractors Friday. All exceeded the $32 million hard construction budget of the renovation — the lowest bid, offered by PCL Construction, came in at $41 million.
“The project as it is currently designed is just too expensive,” Richard Pfutzenreuter, the University’s chief financial officer, said.
MSA President Matt Clark said he is disappointed that the Coffman renovations are delayed, but students shouldn’t panic yet.
“It’s a shame they decided they had to reject the bids, but (the bids) just came in too high,” Clark said.
The exact timeline for the project is currently undetermined, but TCSU President Lance Patrick said the completion date is currently set for Winter 2002.
But Vice President of University Services, Eric Kruse is reluctant to put an exact date on the completion of the renovation.
“The contract we held with the architect makes them responsible for redesigning (the Coffman renovation) to fit the budget,” he said. “Before that gets done, I wouldn’t put too many hopes on any specific dates.”
An increase in the budget of the project is not currently expected.
Pfutzenreuter said the University is unsure whether Student Services Fees for the Coffman renovation would be increased.
The entire cost of the Coffman renovation, including demolition and an asbestos removal, is estimated at $45 million.
Students will eventually pay $37.5 million of the cost through increases in Student Service Fees. Students are currently paying an extra $52 per semester of the 2000-2001 school year. By the 2002-2003 school year students will be paying $95.50 extra.