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September 20, 2017
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RP City Council OK’s new roof project for Spreckels Theatre

By: Katheine Minkiewicz
August 25, 2017

The Spreckels Performing Arts Center will be getting a new roof and air conditioning duct system this September after the Rohnert Park City Council voted to pass the resolution on the consent calendar 5 to 0, awarding the project contract to Stronger Building Services and increasing the monetary funds for other similar projects for the fiscal year at this week’s city council meeting.

The project, which is being coordinated by the RP Department of Public Works and Community Services, was to be originally funded by two separate bonds and two separate contractors in 2015 and 2016.

However, in an agenda report prepared by Project Coordinator Terrie Zwillinger, it was found that it would more efficient for the project as a whole to be awarded to one contractor instead of conducting two different projects.

The report states, “Because the two projects were located at the same facility and because the roof area under the HVAC units also needed to be replaced, staff determined that it would be most efficient to combine the roof replacement and HVAC replacement projects and bid them as one project.”

The current asphalt shingle roof will be replaced with a “standing seam metal roof,” as well as a much needed update to six of the nine HVAC units (air conditioning units) in the performing arts center, which amounts to an approximate cost of about $2,008,000.

Director of Public Works and Community Services, John McArthur said in a statement over the phone that the need for the roof replacement stems from the mere fact that the over 25-year-old roof has never been replaced since the center was built in the late 80s.

“It’s an original roof and it has been on there for close to 30 years now. It’s a wood shake roof, which was common back in the 80s and we’d never put that kind of roof on the building… We know it’s had it, it is leaking and there could be some minor damage to the building that we need to fix during the course of the construction. We’ve patched it, but I could visually look at it go ‘holy cow, it’s in bad shape,” McArthur said. 

Bids for the project estimate were heard the week of August 8, where the lowest bid came out to $1,740,963 from Stronger Building Services, with an additional $200,649 for duct cleaning, which according to McArthur is a pretty good price for such a large project.

“The engineer’s’ assessment was right there and the bids all came pretty close (to the assessors’ price) and were close to what we thought it would be for a roof that big — it’s like a football field tilted up,” McArthur said.

Project costs will come out of a city bond, the ‘“2007-R Tax Allocation” bond, however, the resolution also passed an item to increase the appropriations of funds for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year for the project.

McArthur explained that this moving of funds won’t be specifically used for this project, but for similar projects in the future.

“We have a bucket of projects that are funded by bonds, multiple projects that we are funding from those bonds. In some of the projects that we have completed are under budget, so what we’re wanting to do is use the same bond money, but take it from one project and move it from another and in this case it’s this one,” he said.

Essentially, the public works department is using the savings from estimated projects that have come under budget, like the roof one, to use on future projects in order to be spending city money and taxpayer money more wisely.

Examples of uses of such savings from bonds have gone to the new parking lot at the Sports Center, Benicia Pool and its restrooms as well as the locker rooms in the sports center gym.

The Spreckels roof project is expected to commence in early September and is to finished in December of 2017, if weather permits, according to the agenda item report. The performing arts center and theatre will however remain open during construction to minimize any inconvenience the work may have.

“It (construction) shouldn’t affect the inner-doings of the performing arts center and the theatre and there will be construction and it will be noticeable, but all of the productions are at night, so I’m hoping there will be as little disruption as possible,” McArthur said.

Before the resolution was voted on in the consent calendar, councilmembers had a chance to ask questions about the item, however, there were no comments or questions and it was unanimously passed by the council, along with other items on the calendar.

Mayor Jake Mackenzie simply addressed the consent calendar, with fellow council members approving the adoption of the resolution action addressing the crowd saying, “All those in favor of approving the consent calendar with the exception of B1 6D, all those in favor say ‘I.’”

One Rohnert Park resident did make a public comment regarding public works about the consideration by the council to put in a pickle ball court, however, did not mention the department’s biggest project, which McArthur says is the performing arts center construction.

Sheri Lee Miller, Spreckels Artistic Manager said they are very excited to be getting a new roof and air conditioning as well since the quality of the old roof is so poor.

“We’re very excited to get a new roof, it has never been replaced and it has very bad leaks, it leaks everywhere, so we’re very grateful and thrilled,” Miller said.

McArthur said of the project as a whole, “These things reach the end of their useful life and you do things to try and extend its life, but I think we’re really at the end of the road for it and it needs to be done… You’re either putting a temporary patch on it or your replacing it and I think it’s like a street, sometimes it hits the end of its life and you can spend a million dollars a year fixing potholes on it, or spend less than that amount and replace the road and free up your resources to use it somewhere more wisely.”