Delays could add to port's cost

Infrastructure construction at the Port of Olympia's East Bay development is expected to be completed by June, about seven months later than originally planned, according to the agenda for Monday's port commission meeting.

An Olympia city official said Friday that despite the delay, the city is on target to begin work on a new building for the Hands On Children’s Museum.

At issue has been the pace of work done by Stan Palmer Construction of Port Orchard, the winning bidder for the $3.7 million job of installing streets, sidewalks and utilities on the port’s East Bay development downtown. Stan Palmer Construction began work on the site in June, then encountered problems in October after a city inspection found sags and dips in sewer and stormwater pipes that prevented water from flowing correctly, said Keith Stahley, the city’s community planning and development director. Those issues have been corrected, he said Friday.

The project also has been slowed by winter weather, and there have been other “challenges” that Rick Anderson, the port’s director of engineering, declined to elaborate on Friday.

A contact for Stan Palmer Construction could not be reached Friday.

As a result of the delay, the port commission will vote Monday on whether to approve more money for a construction consultant who has worked with the port and provided oversight on the project, Anderson said. According to the commission meeting agenda item:

“This (funding) request is to compensate for additional time needed as a result of the contractor’s failure to meet the scheduled milestone dates as previously defined by the contractor, and to assist port staff with work progress and schedule analysis in defense of contractors claims.”

PFK Construction Consulting of Milton has received $157,500 from the port and could receive an additional $70,000 as a result of Monday’s vote.

The reference to “contractors claims” in the agenda description involves claims Stan Palmer has made about the port, saying the port has had a hand in delaying the project. Stan Palmer Construction “wants as much time as he can get and we’re saying ‘Let’s get this done,’” Anderson said about the ongoing negotiations between the port and Stan Palmer Construction.

The delay won’t affect the Hands On Children’s Museum building because the city already planned to start construction in June or July, when the infrastructure work should be done, interim assistant city manager Jay Burney said.

Also planned for East Bay is a new headquarters/education building for the LOTT Alliance, and the port is working with private developer Tarragon of Seattle to develop some of the remaining property into a mixed-use destination.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403