The Riverside Recreation Department will remain in its temporary location in Riverside Lawn until at least late September, after bids to convert the former water works pump house into the department’s headquarters came in well over budget.
The village’s Board of Trustees on May 15 voted unanimously to reject all three bids for the work, setting the stage for rebidding the work next week.
Recreation Director Laure Kosey said in January that, based on the architect’s estimate, the cost for transforming the pump house and water tower into offices and programming space would be roughly $200,000.
But in April, when bids were unsealed, they ranged from $217,000 to $518,000. Kosey said that the village rejected the low bid from Belmont State Corp. after a credit check reportedly found several liens against companies operated by Belmont’s owner.
“We might have to narrow the scope of the project or pull some items out,” Kosey said. “For example, we may have to go with less expensive flooring in the programmable space.”
The renovation plan calls for the pump house to house an office, a conference room and a 650-square-foot activity room. The ground floor of the cylindrical water tower, meanwhile, would hold two ADA-accessible bathrooms and storage areas.
In addition, before any renovation can take place, the Recreation Department will need to have lead and asbestos abatement performed in the building. On May 15, the village board approved the abatement project at a cost of just under $20,000.
According to Kosey, lead paint was found in the pump house, while asbestos covered pipes are underneath the floor of the building. The proposed renovation will require extensive plumbing and electric work, which precluded the village from simply avoiding the underground pipes.
“The biggest struggles we’ve been having are the environmental, plumbing and electrical, and making it ADA-accessible,” Kosey said. “It’s an old building we’re trying to modify.”
The architect’s estimates for the plumbing work and for the installation of a heating/air-conditioning system are the two areas that differ greatly from the bids the village received.
“What we’re finding is that we need to firm up the numbers for plumbing and HVAC,” Kosey said. “That’s where we seem to be most off-base.”
Kosey said that new specifications should be ready by next week, at which time the department will again advertise for bids. The new bids will likely be opened June 7.
“Realistically we’re hoping to have someone start by July and get done by the end of September or first part of October,” Kosey said.
Part of the pump house, which is located in Centennial Park in downtown Riverside, was formerly home to the Recreation Department office. In 2004, the village abandoned the historic water tower attached to the pump house and took its old water delivery system offline, rendering the pump house obsolete.
In 2005, the exteriors of the water tower, pump house and two well houses were restored, and the Recreation Department was moved to the Public Works building across the Des Plaines River on Columbus Boulevard in Riverside Lawn.