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Public invited to open house on wastewater plant improvements

Posted: February 2, 2011 9:43:24 AM PST

The City of Bellingham will host an open house featuring preliminary designs for planned Post Point Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements, scheduled 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 at Fairhaven Middle School Commons Area, 110 Parkridge Road.

In an informal, open house atmosphere, project staff will provide displays and responses to key concerns raised through a series of public meetings in 2009 and 2010. Participants will have an opportunity to talk with both staff and consultants and view scale and computer interactive models of proposed improvements. People are invited to attend throughout the open house hours. Additional public information meetings will be planned throughout the project.

The proposed improvements to be displayed on Feb. 24 are at the 30% design phase, based on the preferred improvement alternative approved by the Bellingham City Council in March 2010.

City approved for alternative contracting method
Following a lengthy application process to the State Capital Projects Advisory Review Board, the City received approval in September 2010 to use an alternative delivery method called General Contractor/Contract Management (GC/CM) for the Post Point project.

This method of constructing large public facilities involves selecting a GC/CM contractor early in the design phase to work collaboratively with the project designer and City staff. These preconstruction services  provide the City with valuable information on actual construction costs and constructability issues as the design is finalized. This process allows for more efficient, cost-effective projects, especially because construction costs are carefully calculated throughout the design phase and design choices are made with costs in mind.

“Public agencies using alternative delivery methods typically find the methods help them keep costs for large capital projects within budget, on time, and avoid mid-construction cost increases,” said Ted Carlson, Public Works Director.

In December 2010, the City selected  Mortenson Construction to join the planning team as a General Contractor/Construction Manager. Mortenson was selected through a process that involved qualification-based review along with a bid. Seven firms submitted for the project, four were interviewed and the top two invited to bid on the project. Mortenson will work with City staff and Carollo Engineering to develop the detailed design of the Post Point Improvements project before starting construction in 2012.

The preconstruction services phase includes developing cost estimates for City consideration at design milestones, development of detailed schedules, construction plans to minimize environmental impacts on local residents and area wildlife, and incorporation of long-term operational needs.

“This project delivery approach reduces cost risks to the City and our utility ratepayers, while allowing the full construction scope to be reviewed by all members of the team and the public before construction,” said Carlson. Bellingham is one of the first municipalities of its size to undertake a project like this using the GC/CM alternative contracting method.

The City is planning necessary expansion of the Post Point Wastewater Treatment Plant because the wastewater treatment plant is projected to approach its rated capacity by 2014.

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Media Contact:
Freeman Anthony, P.E., Project Engineer
Public Works Department
(360) 778-7924
fanthony@cob.org

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