COLUMBUS — Councilman Dennis Kresha calls it the “Cadillac” of restrooms, others say it’s the cost of construction these days.
Columbus City Council voted 7-1 Monday night to award a $315,000 contract to Bierman Contracting Inc. to construct a building that will house men’s and women’s restrooms, storage for the youth football program and a concessions area at Bradshaw Park.
The roughly 2,400-square-foot building will replace the current storage facility near the football field and add a second set of restrooms at the park in southwest Columbus. It will also feature an overhang that serves as a picnic shelter.
Currently, those watching youth football games must use the restrooms located across the park near the softball fields and the storage facility, which was built before Bradshaw Park was developed and sits lower than the surrounding areas, collects water following rains.
Kresha, the lone vote against awarding the bid to the Columbus-based contractor, said he’s not opposed to the project. He just doesn’t like the price tag.
“I just think a slab of cement and maybe a Behlen building would be a lot cheaper than the cement blocks we always use to build these buildings,” he said. “It just seems like we always have to be looking at a Cadillac instead of a Ford or a Chevy.”
Mayor Jim Bulkley told Kresha he understands the frustration — the same questions about costs come from members of the public — but noted that a concrete slab and metal building simply don’t cut it anymore.
The restrooms must meet Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, Bulkley said, which increases construction costs by about 15 percent. The city also must pay architectural fees to design the facility.
“Again, it’s a state requirement that we have to do,” the mayor said.
City Engineer Rick Bogus called the design a “standard block building” that’s built to last while agreeing that ADA rules increase the size, and cost, of these types of facilities.
“There’s a lot of things that go into it besides just trying to make the cheapest thing possible,” Bogus said.
Bogus, who noted that a $280,000 estimate presented last month didn’t include costs such as labor and insurance, said the price per square foot is similar to multipurpose restroom buildings recently constructed at Pawnee Park’s Memorial Stadium and Glur Park.
The city paid about $532,000 for the stadium project, a 2,550-square-foot building with men’s, women’s and family restrooms and a changing room for officials with six lockers and two showers. That building is also heated.
Three years ago, Bierman was awarded a $137,700 contract for standalone restrooms in Pawnee Park East that replaced a more than 50-year-old building near the shelter.
The city had $340,000 budgeted for the Bradshaw Park project, including design fees, and received three construction bids. The others came from Foreman Lumber ($319,800) and B-D Construction ($358,000), both based in Columbus.
Local sales tax revenue will pay for the project.
Columbus Public Property Director Doug Moore said last month he hopes to see construction begin next spring. Parks department employees will tear down the existing storage building once the new facility is complete.
The same design for a combined restrooms/storage building is planned for Frontier Park on the city’s east edge.
In other business, the council approved a $12,760 contract with Columbus-based Gehring Construction and Ready Mix Co. to pour a concrete cart path between the Loup River levee and No. 12 tee box at Quail Run Golf Course.
That path, which is currently gravel, will be poured 8 inches thick so it can handle traffic from heavy maintenance equipment.