Aberdeen Parks director explains museum repair estimates

City staff had some good news to report for Aberdeen’s history fans, because the city now has cost estimates for repairs to the future site of the Aberdeen Museum of History.

With the cost estimates — a little less than $1 million — here, it appears to be a step toward bringing a museum back to Aberdeen after the city’s museum and armory burned down in June 2018.

The costs are lower than expected, according to Stacie Barnum, Aberdeen’s Parks and Recreation director.

Barnum shared the museum’s overall estimated cost for repairs to Aberdeen City Council on Wednesday night. The total estimate for repairs to the city’s building at 118 W. Wishkah St., is for $924,878. The total estimate includes contingency costs, which are typical on big projects. The cost also includes an 8% escalation. Barnum explained what that is.

“Some of these estimates were provided almost 12 months ago,” Barnum said. “A good rule of thumb, with the current rate of inflation, is 8% per year increase. Add into the fact that work may not begin until late summer or early fall. Each step in the remodel will be on a schedule. They all cannot happen at the same time. It will be a step-by-step construction timeline schedule.”

Basically, the 8% escalation is to make sure there’s no surprise if the cost goes up because of inflation.

Barnum went into detail about the reasons for the costs. The single biggest estimated cost, with tax and other fees — $485,442 — is for the repairs to the building’s elevator, according to a slideshow that Barnum shared at the meeting. The elevator needs to meet today’s code.

In addition to upgrading the existing elevator to meet code and for parts for it, there are other issues with the elevator.

“There’s a drainpipe or some type of pipe that runs through the elevator pit that cannot be there and will have to be removed,” Barnum said. “And there’s water intrusion into the elevator pit, which is causing oil and water to mix, so an oil-water separator would need to be also installed in the elevator pit. That’s about $50,000 if we have them do it. There’s a possibility that city staff could do that with much more reduced cost.”

Barnum had more to say about the elevator.

“We are currently doing required improvements to the elevator to get us in compliance with Labor and Industries,” Barnum said to the city council. “Once we meet Labor and Industries compliance and address the water in the elevator pit, then we can use the elevator.”

One positive pertaining to this expected work is the funds would not come out of the city’s budget. Instead they would come from Washington state Commerce Capital Project appropriations funds, which were originally allocated for the Gateway Center project, according to Barnum.

Another piece inside the building that needs work is the fire suppression system. The estimated cost for that is $53,280.18. It would come with a five-year inspection, the replacement of all sprinklers, the replacement of the attic system from wet to dry type.

“There’s currently a wet system in that building,” Barnum said, noting she met with Knight Fire Inspection, which is out of the Tacoma area. “He and I met at the building. He went up in the attic and there’s a wet system in the attic and that’s not a good thing.”

Barnum explained the difference between a dry system and a wet system.

“Dry sprinklers are a type of sprinkler that are able to extend into a cold space while holding the water back in a space that can be maintained at temperatures where freezing isn’t a concern,” Barnum said. “Although there are several other methods for installing sprinkler systems in ares subject to freezing, dry sprinklers allow a wet pipe system to be installed while also being able to protect ancillary areas that might be subject to freezing temperatures.”

Another large item needed is the roof, which has an estimated cost of $142,080.48.

Included in the repair process, the city will go out for bids. That answered the question that councilor Stan Sidor had about if the city would get bids from at least three companies.

“We will comply with the bidding process,” Barnum said.

As far as when the bids would be sent out, that part of the process needs to wait until after a contract is signed with Washington state Commerce for the Capital Project appropriations, which “could be this summer,” according to Barnum.

In addition to the work that Barnum shared on Wednesday night, public works employees on Thursday morning did some of their own labor on the outside of the building. Equipped with a lift, city staff removed the old Salvation Army signs and pressure-washed the building’s awning, according to Barnum.

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.