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Construction contract awarded for West Quesnel childcare centre

BC Government providing additional funding of $801,095
A rendering of a new childcare centre in West Quesnel. (City of Quesnel photo/handout)

The contractor behind the new Quesnel Junior School has been awarded the construction contract for a new 57 space childcare centre in West Quesnel.

Quesnel city council awarded the $3,187,395 contract to JEN COL Construction at a regular council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 27, after approving entering into a revised funding agreement with the BC Government and an allocation from the general interest capital reserve of up to $101,718.96.

In Spring 2021, the City of Quesnel successfully obtained a provincial grant of $1,359,875 to construct the new facility at 420 Webster Avenue.

Director of Community Services Jeff Norburn noted, however, the cost estimate for the project was significantly higher than the grant amount. As a result, a funding agreement application based on the new estimated project cost was resubmitted.

In Spring 2022, the City of Quesnel was awarded a provincial grant of $2,618,904 and issued a request for proposals to hire a general contractor for the project.

Three proposals were received, all of which exceeded the construction budget by over $1 million.

“JEN COL Construction was selected as the highest scoring proponent,” Norburn said. “Once they had been identified, the city engaged with them and the design team to identify opportunities to lower the project cost by reducing project complexity and using less expensive materials where appropriate.”

Through the value engineering process, JEN COL Construction was able to reduce its proposal price by $430,226.

A revised project budget, including soft costs and contingency, was developed resulting in a total project cost of $3,475,462 and a funding gap of approximately $856,557.

On Monday, Sept. 26, Norburn said the City of Quesnel was notified that the BC Government would provide $801,095 additional funding for the project, increasing the provincial contribution to $3.4 million, and leaving a small project gap of approximately $55,500.

A revised project budget was based on carrying a $100,00 contingency, approximately 3.1 per cent. A standard contingency for a new construction project is approximately five per cent.

“Providing a sufficient contingency for the project is recommended to reduce the likelihood that there will be a need to request additional funding at a later stage in the project,” Norburn said.

Allocating the full balance of the general interest capital reserve, which had a balance of $101,718.96 as of Dec. 31, 2021, would result in a project contingency of approximately $146,220, which is 4.6 per cent of the construction budget.

Norburn said inflation should not affect the fixed project price by JEN COL Construction.

“They’ve factored that into their bid,” Norburn added. “The contingency really is to cover change orders and changes in scope of work.”

Director of Corporate and Financial Services, Kari Bolton, said every few years, the city tends to spend the balance of the general interest capital reserve on projects and that the last project it supported was the Forestry Innovation Centre.

“At the end of the day, we have to remember that this slush fund is actually going into a project that’s really good for our community,” said councillor Martin Runge.

Mayor Bob Simpson noted the vital role the new childcare centre will have in Quesnel when it comes to employee recruitment and retention.

It will be run by the Quesnel and District Day Care Society.

Read More: West Quesnel day care clears zoning hurdle

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